Diagrammatic Representation and Reasoning

pp 187-206

Graphs in Print

  • Jeff Zacks
  • , Ellen Levy
  • , Barbara Tversky
  • , Diane Schiano

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Diagrams for presenting quantitative data are an important component of print communication. Their rate of use is high and rising. This reflects in part the recent development of software tools for generating data graphics. These programs allow a wide range of choices for data visualisation — some of which may be ugly or ineffective. How has graph usage evolved during this period? A survey of graph usage in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers during the years 1985-1994 revealed several dynamic trends in the characteristics of data graphics, as well as robust differences between media. However, graph features that have been singled out by experts as poor choices, such as “3-D” rendering, do not seem to be on the rise.