Initial steps towards developing a theory of presentation graphics

Date of publication: November 10, 2002


As an intellectual endeavor, the field of 'presentation graphics' (defined as any graphic or data display in a report or presentation used to communicate data and what it means) is currently a disorganized body of knowledge.As an initial step towards developing a theory of presentation graphics, this presentation addresses two main topics: the essence of a presentation graphic and what would constitute a set of principles that practitioners can use to create and utilize this type of graphic.The essence of a presentation graphic is its ability to utilize abstraction to communicate the underlying relationships in the data. The best examples of graphics/data displays communicate these relationships in ways that provide the audience with additional insight and support sound decision-making on the issues under study.The principles or criteria for an effective graphic would include its serving a specific goal (providing insight into the findings, if not simple entertainment) and the possession of certain internal qualities (such as power and elegance).Graphics also play a role in the communication dyad between author and audience. Study of what types of graphics) most clearly communicate the intended message to the audience would be a valuable area for future research.

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