Task-Based Effectiveness of Basic Visualizations
Visualizations of tabular data are widely used; understanding their effectiveness in different task and data contexts is fundamental to scaling their impact. However, little is known about how basic tabular data visualizations perform across varying data analysis tasks. In this paper, we report results from a crowdsourced experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of five small scale (5-34 data points) two-dimensional visualization types-Table, Line Chart, Bar Chart, Scatterplot, and Pie Chart-across ten common data analysis tasks using two datasets. We find the effectiveness of these visualization types significantly varies across task, suggesting that visualization design would benefit from considering context-dependent effectiveness. Based on our findings, we derive recommendations on which visualizations to choose based on different tasks. We finally train a decision tree on the data we collected to drive a recommender, showcasing how to effectively engineer experimental user data into practical visualization systems.