Why Shouldn't All Charts Be Scatter Plots? Beyond Precision-Driven Visualizations


A central tenet of information visualization research and practice is the notion of visual variable effectiveness, or the perceptual precision at which values are decoded given visual channels of encoding. Formative work from Cleveland & McGill has shown  that position along a common axis is the most effective visual variable for comparing individual values. One natural conclusion is that any chart that is not a dot plot or scatterplot is deficient and should be avoided. In this paper we refute a caricature of this "scatterplots only" argument as a way to call for new perspectives on how information visualization is researched, taught, and evaluated.

Enrico Bertini
Michael Correll
Steven Franconeri
Publication Date: 
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Publication Information: 
IEEE Vis - Oct 25-30, 2020 (to appear)