“Creative” Things Designers Do: Area Based Encodings

“Creative” Things Designers Do: Area Based Encodings

In the past two weeks, we showed you some of the ways designers get creative with pie charts and bar charts. Another class of visualizations that designers use is based on area representations of data. These charts include everything from scaled bubbles to ISOTYPE visualizations, and they vary widely in their effectiveness.

Let’s take a look at seven ways designers use area to display data, and dissect if and how they are harming the communication of the data.

  • Area Bubbles are the simplest of these systems for encoding quantity to area. These are not super effective ways to accurately communicate quantity, but could be used reasonably well for a handful of values, especially when sorted by quantity.

  • Area Icons are a little more complex. They have the advantage of simultaneously labeling and showing data they represent, but the complexity of the icons can interfere with the effectiveness of... keep reading

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