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Re: st: create pretty charts


From   Maarten Buis <maartenlbuis@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: create pretty charts
Date   Fri, 7 Sep 2012 10:37:35 +0200

On Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 11:30 PM, Nick Cox wrote:
> Pablo and Miguel (and anybody else) would be doing a useful service if
> they could specify exactly what in Tableau is really good and also
> exceeds what they can do in Stata. That would give programmers if not
> an agenda, then a cogitanda.

I googled it, and it seems like a piece of software that allows you to
program an interactive graph. Some of the example graphs do look
pretty, but designing such infographics is best left to professionals.
It reminds me a bit of the time that inkjet printers became available,
so "normal" people could now freely choose and print any type of font.
The result was a mass of horrible and completely unreadable documents
with 16 or more different fonts.

Even the example graphs provided by the company that makes the piece
of software, which should showcase the best use of the software are
not convincing: Most of them are pretty but make the content harder to
read than necessary, some of them are downright misleading (worst
example is: <http://www.tableausoftware.com/learn/gallery/product-survey-analysis>),
and only few are useful (I like a set of linked graphs, such that when
you select a subset in one graph that same subset is also highlighted
in the other graphs. I think that is a nice way to get a feel for
multidimensional problems.).

So, my impression is that unless you want to start a four year study
in graphical design, you'd best leave software like that alone (and if
you do finish such a study you'll probably have learned that there is
better software for designing such infographics).

-- Maarten

---------------------------------
Maarten L. Buis
WZB
Reichpietschufer 50
10785 Berlin
Germany

http://www.maartenbuis.nl
---------------------------------
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