Es como estar con los ojos cerrados, y abrirlos después de un tiempo. Cuando tuve la suerte de trabajar con INSERVER y aprender, entre otras cosas, sobre diseño de interacción, empecé a notar la luz…
Determining the best way to visualize ranked lists.
(Note: This article was originally published in Sparks of Innovation: Stories from the HCIL.)
In 1786, William Playfair (1759–1823) invented the bar chart, which conveys values using the length of a rectangle. He did this to help members of the British parliament — many of them illiterate — understand complex data without the need for actual numbers. The bar chart has since become one of the most prolific and familiar types of statistical data graphics, and is a staple in many infographics. Bar charts are commonly used to visualize many items side by side, such as the gross domestic product of countries, the unemployment rate in U.S. states, or the enrollment in different academic units at a university. Such lists are often sorted, and we thus refer to them as “ranked lists” and their visualization as “ranked-list visualization.”
However, while bar charts remain the dominant form of ranked-list visualization, they have an important drawback. As the picture above suggests, showing a long ranked list typically requires scrolling, as the whole list won’t easily fit on screen at the same time. For this reason, visualization experts have in recent years proposed several alternatives to bar charts.
For example, treemaps were originally designed for hierarchies, but are often used for ranked lists. In fact, their popularity is somewhat surprising since assessing the area of a rectangle is known to be more difficult than its length.
Packed bubble charts use circles that are packed tight, their area conveying the value of each item. However, their layout is entirely random.
In summary, our recommendation is that designers pick simple bar charts if accuracy is more important than speed, that treemaps can be surprisingly effective (especially for large datasets), and that wrapped bars provide the best middle ground between accuracy and completion times.
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