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Michal Migurski


For all his excellent work, Ed Tufte seems blind to the information graphic as interface, catalog, or browsing mechanism. His iPhone critique video was a prime example of this misunderstanding, with his suggestion of a static UI to replace a supple, reactive, tactile, and temporal one.


I hadn't heard about the dichotomoy between "statistical graphic" and "information graphic" before, I've beeen calling them both "information graphic". Where did you get this distinction?


Does anyone think the difference between being ranked 1 and 2 is more significant than the difference between being ranked 71 and 72?

If so would this justify the use of a distorted scale? What type of distorted scale - perhaps a log scale?


Derek: It's a bit of wordsmithing here. In my view, there is nothing "statistical" about this chart. All the data is being presented; there is no smoothing, averaging, or other techniques used to separate signal from noise.


Gelman highlighted another one of these "catalog" graphics by the same team


I understand there is nothing statistical about that graph, but why is there nothing "info" about statistical graphs?


Not sure if infographics is the right word but there needs to be a distinction between statistical graphics and the rest which amounts to visualization, EDA or similar.


I agree with Michael, log scale would work much better. Problem is most of the public don't understand log scales, they aren't even used for share prices over time.

Jon Peltier

Derek -

In Flowing Data, Nathan has distinguished statistical from information graphics as follows:

statistical visualization - viz for the sole purpose of analysis e.g. graphics in R

infographics - graphics not quite for data e.g. graphics in the news

(See comment to this post.)

Most graphics fall between the two extremes.

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