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Psychology of Visualization

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Ashleigh Faith

on 4 November 2014

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Transcript of Psychology of Visualization

Lots of information and so little time!
Communication with stakeholders
"Records intelligence refers to whatever supports access, delivery, presentation, visualization, and exploration of information for the purpose of leveraging data analytics."
Visualization and psychology: Why do they matter?
Put A Stake In It
The Value of Color
What questions are you trying to answer?

Have you asked your stakeholders what their records intelligence needs are?

What are your restrictions?

What will the output be?

Understand the time and resource commitment for the project.

Identify where visuals fit into the workflow

The human eye can see over 7 million colors.

Certain colors and color relationships can be eye irritants, cause headaches, and wreak havoc with human vision.

Other colors and color combinations are soothing.

Consequently, the appropriate use of color can maximize productivity, minimize visual fatigue, and relax the whole body.
Taxonomy Specialist at SAE International
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Presented by
Ashleigh Faith MLIS, CRM
Visuals paint the story you are trying to tell
Governance! Return On Investment!
Other visual points of interest
Outside the color wheel
Which is more appealing? Which would help you make a decision?
People like choices and more information but if they have too much they are overwhelmed and freeze.

They can only deal with 3-4 things at a time (either points or choices)
Visuals should tell a story for the viewer

Order affects things.

The first 3-4 points/choices will get the most attention and everything else is compared to the first 3-4.

Line length should be 45-72 characters because that is what people can read the best.

The illusion of progress is motivating

Be careful not to distort!
Psychology of Visualization
Making the most of color
Why the Struggle?
What story are you trying to tell? This will influence what visuals are appropriate and most effective.
Selection: what data are you trying to visualize? What does your audience need to know about the dataset? What should and should not be included? Should the data be visualized? How clean is the data? Can it be automatically gathered?
Representation: what can be represented effectively? Should the visual be interactive? Can the visualization evolve with the data and does it need to?
Scale and dimensions: what will represent the data best? Line, Bar, pie, bubble, geospatial, temporal…etc.?
Externalization: how will the user understand the visual? What is the audience? What will the visual be used for?
Mental models: colors, patterns, X and Y axis, type of visualization
Invention, experience, and skill: find a tool you can work with that fits what you want to do and what your skill level is
-James Kobielus, Forrester analyst
Not all are made equal
Which graph makes the difference value more clear?
Yellow is THE most irritating color to the human eye
If red and blue, or red and green, are too close they create eye sores.
There are other color combinations that are not so good. Use your judgment!
Colors should have a strong variation or your data will get lost.
Colors have associations and meanings — Red means “in the red” or financial trouble, or it could mean danger. Green means money, or “go”. You want to pick colors carefully since they have these meanings.
David McCandless' color chart can help
Color meanings change by culture – Some colors have similar meanings everywhere, for example, gold stands for success and high quality in most cultures, but most colors have different meanings in different cultures. For example, in the US, white stands for purity and is used at weddings, but in other cultures white is the color used for death and funerals.
Make sure to keep color blindness in mind when designing your visualization
A majority of Americans say Japan is an Innovative country, Not so China and India” -Newsweek
Just because you can doesn't mean you should or that the visual will add insight.
This is only the beginning
Read all about it!
That's a wrap but there is so much more to explore if you are interested!

One easy to read book is "The Secret World of Color" Eckstut & Eckstut (2013) and Katy Borner's free MOOC through Indiana University
Full transcript