Sunday, June 17, 2012

Data Art Considered Harmful?

Visual Business Intelligence - Data Art vs. Data Visualization: Why Does a Distinction Matter?:
 "How in particular is data art—visualizations that strive to entertain or to create aesthetic experiences with little concern for informing—harmful when it masquerades as data visualization?

  1.  It suggests that data cannot be visualized without training in the graphic arts. As such, it works against the democratization of data. In fact, anyone of reasonable intelligence and a little training can present data effectively. It’s vital that this ability spreads more broadly across the population, because it can play a role in making a better world.
  2. It features ineffective practices as exemplars of data visualization. It encourages people to present data in ways that are difficult to perceive and understand simply because they are prettier or more entertaining, which is rarely relevant to the task.
  3. It keeps the practice of data visualization spinning its wheels, never able to progress beyond the mistakes of the past. Best practices of data visualization have emerged through many years of research and experience. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Santayana).  "

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