Using Concrete Scales: A Practical Framework for Effective Visual Depiction of Complex Measures

Fanny Chevalier 1 Romain Vuillemot 2 Guia Gali 3
1 dgp
DGP - Dynamic Graphics Project [Toronto]
2 AVIZ - Analysis and Visualization
Inria Saclay - Ile de France
Abstract : From financial statistics to nutritional values, we are frequently exposed to quantitative information expressed in measures of either extreme magnitudes or unfamiliar units, or both. A common practice used to comprehend such complex measures is to relate, re-express, and compare them through visual depictions using magnitudes and units that are easier to grasp. Through this practice, we create a new graphic composition that we refer to as a concrete scale. To the best of our knowledge, there are no design guidelines that exist for concrete scales despite their common use in communication, educational, and decision-making settings. We attempt to fill this void by introducing a novel framework that would serve as a practical guide for their analysis and design. Informed by a thorough analysis of graphic compositions involving complex measures and an extensive literature review of scale cognition mechanisms, our framework outlines the design space of various measure relations--specifically relations involving the re-expression of complex measures to more familiar concepts--and their visual representations as graphic compositions.
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Fanny Chevalier, Romain Vuillemot, Guia Gali. Using Concrete Scales: A Practical Framework for Effective Visual Depiction of Complex Measures. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2013, 19 (12), pp.2426-2435. ⟨10.1109/TVCG.2013.210⟩. ⟨hal-00851733v2⟩

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