Visualization Project: A Better Plot

I like data, colors, composition, design, and story-telling. Alternatively, I can say I like Data Visualization. To me, data visualization is the process of designing — or extracting — a story from the data. As a good design is selective, focused — and minimal —, a good visualization is clever, simple, and discerning. It often condenses a colossal dataset into bite-size visual facts; or it tells a gentle and informative story of a common statistic. Of course there are many other types and categories but I feel this definition and examples are quite descriptive.

During my Ph.D. project, I’ve tried to look at the data differently, clarify my results and produce nice charts and visualizations. I am actually proud of a few, e.g., spatiotemporal clusters. It clearly shows the distinction between the spatial and temporal clusters, and it makes it easy to reason only by splitting the information between nodes and edges, respectively, spatial and temporal results.

Spatiotemporal Clusters

It has been a while that I am trying to find and start a personal visualization project in order to keep myself motivated for pursuing and learning more in this direction. I believe, just recently, I have found something simple, relevant and interesting enough to spend some time and energy on. I am calling it “A Better Plot” project.

A Better Plot follows a very simple idea. As the name suggests, I will try to improve plots that I encounter in daily basis on scientific literature, or websites. The idea came from one of our weekly journal clubs where we read an interesting paper with a nice visualization. I decided to recreate the visualization, and when I did I realized if authors were using a slightly different visualization, either their claim would not hold, or they would have easier time convincing the reader on their conclusion.

With this project, I am hopping to create some nice plots, learn more about data visualization and maybe help other researchers to look at their published data differently. The first issue of the “A Better Plot” is here: A Better Plot: Likelihood of Null Effect over Time.

Amir M. Abdol

Amir M. Abdol

PostDoc Researcher in Statistics, Computational Biologist, UI/UX Enthusiast, and a Machine Learner

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