theodp writes: When it comes to data visualization, one person's celebration can be another's abomination. On Monday, Google celebrated Tax Day by announcing the winners of its Data Viz Challenge, a five-week competition that asked developers to visualize how federal income tax dollars are spent. There's definitely a whole-lot-of-eye-candy-going-on, but what Google hails as 'a great example of how data visualization can take boring, complicated, but critically important information and make it accessible to everyone' is unlikely to win over data visualization evangelist Stephen Few, who just last Friday decried the trend to appeal superficially to the viewer (lots of circles, swirls, and vibrant colors) over choosing what will most effectively express what's essential and meaningful. 'Presenting data as clearly as possible is not pretending to know the answers,' wrote Few. 'It respects people's intelligence by assuming that they're actually interested in the data, not in being entertained by the pretty shapes and colors.' One suspects Edward Tufte would second that emotion.
It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon
- W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876