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PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE VISUALIZATIONS
To be able to visualize information or data, it is important to first think about what you want to communicate. Ask yourself “What is the message that I want to convey to the reader?”. Once you know what to say, visualizations can be used to accurately represent the information in a way that enables people to clearly understand your message. To be able to create good visualizations, it is important to be aware of the basic principles of:
   • Visual Perception – It is about understanding how people see
   • Cognition – It is about understanding how people think.
Your message should be represented clearly by taking advantage of the strengths of visual perception, while avoiding all its weakness. At the same time, the representation should match the human thought process, augmenting where necessary to cover up limitations.

PRINCIPLE 1: SHOW ONLY AS MUCH IS REQUIRED - Edward Tufte’s Data-ink Ratio
Irrelevant content is distracting in any message. It is common place today to find charts and graphs with all sorts of 3D effects, unwanted background images and colors. The idea is to show only as much as required.

PRINCIPLE 2: INCLUDE VISUAL DIFFERENCES ONLY WHEN REQUIRED
When people notice visual differences such as color, they look for meaning to the change in color. If there is none, it can only lead to confusion.

PRINCIPLE 3: USE LENGTH OR SPATIAL POSITION OF OBJECTS TO ENCODE QUANTITATIVE VALUES
Properties such as an object’s length (for example, the length of bar in a bar graph), 2-D location (for example, the position of a data point in a scatterplot), its size, its shape, its orientation, its hue, and so on are pre-attentive visual attributes and perceiving them does not involve conscious thought; it is automatic and immediate.

PRINCIPLE 4: DIFFERENCE IN VISUAL PROPERTIES SHOULD CORRESPOND TO ACTUAL DIFFERENCES
Differences in the visual properties that represent values (that is, differences in their lengths or 2-D locations) should accurately correspond to the actual differences in the values they represent. For instance, bars in a bar chart must be displayed, beginning from zero, for the values to be encoded properly.

PRINCIPLE 5: DO NOT VISUALLY CONNECT VALUES THAT ARE DISCRETE
In a graph, when you draw lines between discrete values and connect them, people perceive these values as having a relationship to each other.

PRINCIPLE 6: VISUALLY HIGHLIGHT THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR MESSAGE
All information on a chart might not be equal and you might want to direct a user’s attention to a particular part of the visualization by visually highlighting through use of color, intensity of color etc.

PRINCIPLE 7: AUGUMENT SHORT TERM MEMORY THROUGH VISUAL PATTERNS
Short term memory is limited to 4 chunks of information at a time. By presenting quantitative information as visual patterns, more information can be simultaneously stored as one chunk.

Here is a link which explains the principles of effective visualization Document path will go here
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