I was in Portland, Oregon last week attending three data visualization workshops by industry expert, Stephen Few. I was very excited to be sitting at the foot of the master for three days and soak in all of this great dataviz information.
Last Thursday, was the third workshop, Now You See It which is based on Steve’s best-selling book (see photo below).
To not give away too much of what Steve is teaching in the workshops, I have decided to discuss one of our workshop topics, human perceptual and cognitive strengths.
You can find future workshops by Steve on his website, Perceptual Edge.
Designed for Humans
Good visualizations and good visualization tools are carefully designed to take advantage of human perceptual and cognitive strengths and to augment human abilities that are weak. If the goal is to count the number of circles, this visualization isn’t well designed. It is difficult to remember what you have and have not counted.
Quickly, tell me how many blue circles you see below.
The visualization below, shows the same number of circles, however, is well designed for the counting task. Because the circles are grouped into small sets of five each, it is easy to remember which groups have and have not been counted, easy to quickly count the number of circles in each group, and easy to discover with little effort that each of the five groups contains the same number of circles (i.e., five), resulting in a total count of 25 circles.
The arrangement below is even better yet.
Information visualization makes possible an ideal balance between unconscious perceptual and conscious cognitive processes. With the proper tools, we can shift much of the analytical process from conscious processes in the brain to pre-attentive processes of visual perception, letting our eyes do what they do extremely well.
The presentations from MicroStrategy World 2014 – Las Vegas are now available on the MicroStrategy web site. However, you are going to have to work a bit at getting them.
To access the PDF files of the presentations or watch the videos available, you must have established a Resource Center account with MicroStrategy and you must have downloaded Usher Identity to your smartphone.
I have included the instructions below that MicroStrategy has provided on how to access these PDF files and videos. I have added annotations (in blue) where I felt it will help you along in the process.
Link to the Presentations
The link to MicroStrategy World 2014 – Las Vegas session presentations and videos is:
The session presentations and videos are available by Track/Session as noted below. Click on the “+” sign next to the track to reveal all the sessions below, then click on the session title to access the presentation or video material.
My comment: Saving the PDF files to your hard disk from the sessions seemed to work best using Mozilla Firefox, then Google Chrome, and then Internet Explorer 11. I recommend you install Mozilla Firefox on your PC or laptop for situations like this where IE acts funky and won’t cooperate.
All content is secured by the Usher Mobile Identity Platform, and you must log in with the Usher Identity application to access it. If you don’t know how to log in with the Usher Identity application, then continue reading.
How to log in with Usher
An Usher Stamp will appear the first time you try to access the media below. To access the media, simply authenticate yourself by scanning this stamp with the Usher Identity application on your smartphone . You will only need to authenticate yourself once.
- If you already have the Usher Identity app on your smartphone: Authenticate yourself by scanning the Usher Stamp with the Usher Identity application on your smartphone. To do this, open Usher Identity on your device and swipe up on your badge to reveal the scanner.
- If you do not yet have the Usher Identity application on your iOS or Android smartphone: You can get the application easily. Click on the “Don’t have Usher?” link in the popup window to register and download the app. If you don’t have an existing Resource Center account, just choose create a new account. After you login/create your account, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to download the Usher Identity application and directions about how to load your MicroStrategy User badge. Follow the steps in the email and you will be ready to authenticate yourself, as described above, to access the MicroStrategy World session materials.
For support with the Usher application or in gaining access to the sessions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.