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Eleven methods to represent quantitative data for the eye, with data visualization

A stunning chart, available at Visual Literacy colorfully and usefully displays a “periodic table of visualization methods.” The chart shows 86 methods, clustered like an atomic element chart, for data, information, concepts, strategy, metaphor and compound methods (See my posts of Dec. 9, 2005: data visualization software and some uses; Oct. 1, 2006: seven methods of data visualization with charts; and Aug. 14, 2005: push your law firms to provide quantitative data.). Starting with the data techniques, this post passes on to readers the eleven ways shown to present data visually.

1. Continuum. Perhaps this is a line with numbers on it and whatever intervals make sense.
2. Table (See my posts of May 16, 2006: outside counsel use by three municipal entities; Aug 30, 2006: grid analysis of options; Aug. 26, 2005: mapping risks; Jan. 1, 2006: prosecutors’ data; April 9, 2006: IP litigation data in a table; July 3, 2007: survey data; and May 28, 2005: online applications for US trademarks.).
3. Cartesian coordinates. I am not sure how this differs from scatter-grams, below.
4. Pie chart (See my posts of Aug. 26, 2006: business challenges to law departments; Sept. 21, 2005: activities aligned with client goals; and Aug. 9, 2005: mission critical goals.).
5. Line chart (See my post of May 10, 2006: product liability case filings.).
6. Bar chart (See my posts of Oct. 31, 2007: forms of litigation insurance; March 6, 2005: challenging areas of law; Dec. 2, 2007: GANTT charts; March 20, 2007: eight best-practice factors in procurement).
7. Area chart. Not much application to law departments.
8. Histogram (See my posts of May 28, 2007: Six Sigma control charts; and June 30, 2006: defined.).
9. Scatterplot (See my posts of Jan. 14, 2007: log-log scales; and June 6, 2006: let you see patterns.).
10. Tukey box plot. The box shows the median in the middle and the quartiles at either end. So-called whiskers show the maximum and the minimum in the data set. A variation is the stock graph, with its high-low-and-closing style. Examples are available on Wikipedia.
11. Spectrogram. Wikipedia offers this explanation: “In the most usual format, the horizontal axis represents time, the vertical axis is frequency, and the intensity of each point in the image represents amplitude of a particular frequency at a particular time.” Perhaps by means of a spectrogram a law department would represent the number of cases it handled, the number of firms it hired to assist, and the total fees paid each firm.

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