Just Because you Can Doesn't Mean You Should - The Elements of Graphing Data Well
Steve Figard, PhD, Senior Scientist – Abbott Laboratories
Most software packages that revolve around and/or include the creation of graphs and the representation of data in graphical format provide today’s users with an unprecedented (and sometimes confusing) plethora of options to use and graphs to make. Data analysis and presentation are highly facilitated by the proper use of graphics. Indeed, the Graph Builder platform of JMP® 8 is the greatest thing since sliced bread for the rapid visual presentation of quantitative information. With the great power of these and other graphics packages comes not just great responsibility (thank you, Spidey), but also an increased probability of lack of clarity, error, and actual abuse from simple ignorance of principles of good graph construction. The software can only provide so much protection, for as Richard Cook (science fiction author, The Wizardry Compiled) has so well observed, “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” The objective of this presentation is to provide the audience with the principles gleaned from such giants as Cleveland and Tufte (along with anyone else I find in the interim) within the context of JMP, in an effort to combat graphic entropy.