3.28 Perception/decoding: Visual tasks and channels/mappings

  • Data values (on variables) can be represented more/less well through different visual representations
  • Channels/mappings: Useful conception (see Munzner 2014, 101–3; Healy 2018, Ch. 1.5)
  • Constraint: Channel/mapping needs to be capable to represent data
    • Unordered categories \(\neq\) continuous gradient
    • Continuous variable \(\neq\) series of shapes
  • Some mappings are more effective for comparisons
    • e.g., ordered data → position on common scale
  • Effectiveness depends on perceptual details
    • e.g., sequence of colors you choose for 4-category ordered variable
  • Channels/mappings = building blocks for graphs \(\neq\) graph itself


Healy, Kieran. 2018. Data Visualization: A Practical Introduction. Princeton University Press.

Munzner, Tamara. 2014. Visualization Analysis and Design. CRC Press.