Skip to content

Applying human factors research to statistical graphics

John Rauser writes:

I’ve been a reader of yours (books, papers and the blog) for a long time, and it occurred to me today that I might be able to give something back to you.

I recently wrote a talk ( about human factors research applied to making statistical graphics. I mainly cover material from Cleveland, but also fold in ideas from Gestalt psychology. My main contribution is to apply these ideas to commonly seen real world graphics and draw out observations and recommendations.

I thought the talk might be decent fodder for your course on statistical graphics and communication, or perhaps for the blog. Either way, thanks so much for everything you’ve contributed to the community.

Trips to Cleveland, huh? I don’t have the patience to watch videos but I’ll post here and we can see what people think.


  1. “I don’t have the patience to watch videos”

    Human factor!

  2. Mike Lawrence says:

    Great talk! I showed this to my intro grad stats course last term.

  3. Mike Lawrence says:

    Oh, and tip for the impatient: you can play videos at >1x speed, just click the cog to choose speed.

  4. T says:

    There’s also interesting recent research into optimizing (via cost functions) the design of graphical displays to human visual system:

    Towards Perceptual Optimization of the Visual Design of Scatterplots
    Micallef et al.
    IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics ( Volume: 23, Issue: 6, June 1 2017 )

Leave a Reply