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Surfacing Misconceptions Through Visualization Critique

by   Amy Rae Fox, et al.

Students of visualization come to formal education with an abundance of personal experience. However, one's exposure to graphics through media and education may not be sufficiently diverse to appreciate the nuance and complexity required to design and evaluate effective representations. While many introductory courses in visualization address best practices for visual encoding of data based on perceptual characteristics, as cognitive scientists, we place equal value on representational decisions based on communicative context: how the representation is intended to be used. In this pedagogical activity, we aim to surface learners' preconceived notions about what makes a visualization effective. Here we describe the structure and context of an introductory-level visualization activity, how it might be conducted in individual or group settings, our experience with the common misconceptions the activity can reveal, and conclude with recommendations on how they might be addressed.


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