Data Visualizations Lit Review

Melonçon, L., & Warner, E. (2017). Data visualizations: A literature review and opportunities for technical and professional communication. In D. Slattery & Y. Cleary, Editors. Proceedings of the IEEE ProComm: Making Waves, Madison, WI. (pp. 1-9).

 This paper discusses the need for an

integrative literature review on data visualizations,

particularly in health and medical contexts. The paper

analyzes 25 studies across disciplines. The findings

suggest there is little agreement on the best way to

visualize complex data for lay audiences, but some

emerging effective practices are being develop.

Pictographs, icon arrays, and bar charts seem to hold

promise for comprehension by users, and visualizations

need to be kept as simple as possible with attention to

integrating other design features such as headings and

legends. The review ends with five specific research

areas in which technical and professional

communicators should focus their attention on

empirical studies that examine: interactive displays,

merge attention and comprehension, look at numeracy

and risk and finally, cross health and medical subjects.