All communication between the readers of an image and the makers of an image must [] take place on a two-dimensional surface. Escaping this flatland is the essential task of envisioning information- for all the interesting worlds (physical, biological, imaginary, human) that we seek to understand are inevitably and happily multivariate in nature. Not flatlands.

the goals for information resolution (resolving power)

  1. increase the number of dimensions that can be represented on plane surfaces
  2. increase the date density: how much information can be represented in a given area

Even language lacks the capacity to communicate a sense of dimensional complexity. How much moreso for images?

The capacity to visualize phenomena in two dimensions may be the key to understanding the multidimensional reality. Aristotelean theology adopted by the church commanded that “celestial bodies were perfect and without blemish.” The recordings of Galileo using a telescope and canvas disproved this notion and led to teh heleocentric view of this galaxy.

Visualization process of complex data:

  • one observation
  • small multiple images
  • dimensionality and data compression
  • micro & macro displays combining pattern and detail, averages and variations

Every opportunity to spread additional information over an already available dimension must be cherished.

-> Think spreadsheets and grids balancing multiple variables.

Simplified aerial views are quick ways of summarizing visual complexities -> symbols, icons, and dingbats further assist the summarization.

When displaying multiple images, from one image to the next, the focus should be on changes in information, rather than changes in graphical composition.

The eye detects curious patterns and unbroken “runs” on a spreadsheet grid.

Displays may be more persuasive and memorable in situations where communication is linear, nonreversible, one-dimensional, and the audience can take in the data at their own pace and in their own manner.

Images need to convey both a sense of average and of variation about the average.

High-information graphics convey quantitative depth and statistical integrity.

Small multiples (of images placed on a single page) allow for visual reasoning -> to see, distinguish, choose from a selection… rather than having the images scattered over multiple pages to flip through.

Purpose of envisioning information: to reason, communicate, document, and preserve knowledge.

The essential tasks to achieve this purpose:

  • going beyond the two-dimensional space
  • increasing the density of the data displayed

The focus should remain on the data. The “data-container” should not detract or divert attention from this focus.

Chartjunk: cosmetic decoration, which frequently distorts data, lackign content

Chartjunk conveys contempt for both the information presented and the audience presented to.

The moral premise of information design: readers viewers of the data are alert and caring.

Clarity and simplicity are the opposite of simple-mindedness.

Disrespect for the audience will always leak through the message.

Aspects of display of closely-read data: typography, object representation, layout, color, production techniques, and visual principles that inform criticism and revision.