Colours and malcontents

This tweet and subsequent replies caught my eye after dataviz guy Andy Kirk commented on Jan Willem’s patience.

Three lessons can be learnt, I think:

  1. Colour-blindness matters. But it’s not the only consideration, in the same way that making data visualisations at all should not be construed as an insult to people who are blind.
  2. People who already have a good grasp and their own mental model of the subject at hand are probably not going to like what you do to make the subject more accessible. That tells you very little about the success of your work.
  3. Small multiples are an excellent solution to many problems of information overload. Rather than have all the colours in one image, you could have multiple images, highlighting just one category each time. An interactive web page would be a good way of presenting that.

 

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