Last week, Visual.ly published a blog post by Drew Skau, containing a Code of Ethics for data visualization, and ending with this succinct “Hippocratic oath” for data visualization professionals, which deserves to be explored further:
I shall not use visualization to intentionally hide or confuse the truth which it is intended to portray. I will respect the great power visualization has in garnering wisdom and misleading the uninformed. I accept this responsibility willfully and without reservation, and promise to defend this oath against all enemies, both domestic and foreign.
It is doubtful many people use visualization to intentionally mislead, but there are countless examples of visualizations and information design going wrong, anyway. This oath seems to carry the underlying message that one must create visualizations that not only use accurate data and avoid 3D pie charts, but are purposefully designed to tell a clear story and... keep reading