Establishing intent – the visualization's function

The intended function of a data visualization concerns the functional experience you create between your design, the data, and the reader/user.

If we revisit the range of phrases presented earlier, it is possible to form three separate clusters or categories of function. While there is always a chance of slight overlap, there will be a significant difference in your design choices depending on whether the function of your visualization is to:

  • Convey an explanatory portrayal of data to a reader
  • Provide an interface to data in order to facilitate visual exploration
  • Use data as an exhibition of self-expression

When the function is to explain

Explanatory data visualization is about conveying information ...

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