Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The ratio of relevant to irrelevant information in a display. The highest possible signal-to-noise ratio is desirable in design.

All communication involves the creation, transmission, and reception of information. During each stage of this process, the form of the information—the signal—is degraded, and extraneous information—noise—is added. Degradation reduces the amount of useful information by altering its form. Noise reduces clarity by diluting useful information with useless information. The clarity of information can be understood as the ratio of remaining signal to added noise. For example, a graph with no extraneous elements would have a high signal-to-noise ratio whereas, a graph with many extraneous elements would ...

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