Reading 6 – Jacob Harris

  1. Is it unethical to focus only on the “zoomed out” portion of a data set? If individual-specific data isn’t available, is it worthwhile to focus only on the macrocosmic view?

  2. “Still, we have guides to inform us when to use a bar chart vs. a scatter plot vs. a pie chart. Would a similar guided approach work for interactives we feel are too emotionless?”
    • Is the goal of a data visualization to elicit emotion? Isn’t thinking this much about the emotional response of the viewer dangerous to an unbiased representation of the data?

  3. “I feel that in these days where charts may be tweeted, reblogged, and aggregated out of context, you must assume your graphic will stand alone.”
    • Harris is putting an awful lot of responsibility on the data visualization to communicate both the actual data and the emotional narrative with which it is associated. I agree that it is more common nowadays to see a visualization by itself than attached to an explanatory written piece, but does that really necessitate a change in what it means to represent data? It seems like Harris is looking at this issue through the eyes of a professional data visualizer, and as someone who sees far more visualizations on a given day than the average person. I would contend that imbuing every visualization with an emotional narrative defeats the root purpose of dataviz.