The world of infographics has produced a race between designers. The Internet is flooded with hundreds of infographics every day, so those graphics with good design and novelty features have a big leg up against competition in the race for eyeballs. Often this prioritizes design above other traditional goals of data visualization, and charts get tweaked and embellished. This makes them more eye catching and more memorable (PDF), but what about accuracy?
When designers turn a bar into a triangle, round the corners, or add a shape to the ends, they have an impact on how our perceptual system is taking in the bar chart’s information. But our knowledge of how well bar charts work is all based on standardized bar charts with sharp corners and rectangular bars. Without a complete understanding of how these chart changes impact the chart’s ability to communicate, we can’t be... keep reading