The Risks of Visualization

Bresciani S., Eppler M. (2009) The Risks of Visualization: a Classification of Disadvantages Associated with Graphic Representations of Information. In: Schulz, P.J., Hartung, U., Keller, S. (Eds.), Identität und Vielfalt der Kommunikations-wissenschaft, UVK Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Konstanz (Germany).

Overview
In this chapter we review and classify the disadvantages and risks associated with the use of visual representations of information. We complement a review of literature with expert interviews and focus group results on the practical negative experiences with the use of visual representations of information.
Based on these two sources, we distinguish between social, cognitive, and emotional risks of visualization that can be viewed from two perspectives: from the point of view of the user and from the point of view of the designer of a graphic representation. We discuss implications of the identified disadvantages and ways of overcoming or avoiding them. The chapter concludes by providing an outlook on overlooked or emergent risks of visualization.
The aim is not to diminish the potential of visualization: it is rather an attempt to deepen and structure our understanding of the possible limitations of visualizations.

 

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