Statistician Howard Wainer and analyst Michael Friendly are numbers magicians — they accomplish the airy visible. Two of the world’s arch abstracts in the acreage of abstracts visualization, they are co-authors of a new book, A History of Abstracts Decision & Clear Communication.
Wainer, now retired, was arch assay scientist at Educational Testing Service, acclaimed assay scientist at the Civic Board of Medical Examiners, and assistant of statistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Friendly is a assistant of attitude at York University in Toronto and a arch academic of the history of abstracts visualization.
In the afterward Q&A, they explain how CPAs can best use beheld depictions of numbers and how history’s “heroes of beheld thinking” adapted numbers into images that backpack account and meaning. They responded to the questions accordingly via email.
What questions should CPAs ask themselves back creating beheld advice such as archive and graphs for clients?
Ask yourself three questions. First, what claims will my admirers appetite to make? Second, what affirmation do I accept to abutment those claims? Third, who is the audience? What kinds of abstracts displays do they understand?
You address that acceptable graphical displays of data, like acceptable writing, accurate account with clarity, precision, and efficiency. What rules of beheld “grammar” should CPAs follow?
They should anticipate clearly, anticipate precisely, and characterize the consistent account minimally and abstain irrelevancies. Develop a affectation that shows alone what is bare and annihilation more. Moreover, it is capital you anticipate of a abstracts affectation as a agency of advice to animal eyes and animal minds. Any affectation is added calmly accepted if it has a allusive appellation that answers this catechism for the viewer: “Why do I charge to accept this?” And accomplish abiding all labels are legible.
How accept computers fabricated abstracts decision bigger — and worse?
On the additional side, computers accept fabricated a huge ambit of potentially accessible graphical depictions accessible to about anyone. On the abrogating side, computers accept fabricated a huge ambit of potentially absurd or ambiguous graphical depictions accessible to about anyone.
What are some of the best accepted means archive “lie”? Are there rules of deride to anticipate this?
The abbreviate acknowledgment is, acquaint the beheld accuracy as artfully as you can, and again appearance it to trusted parties and ask them, “What are the letters that the abstracts carry?” If they abort to butt your advised message, you accept failed.
For added capacity on this in an easy-to-understand form, absorbed readers are immodestly referred to the aboriginal affiliate in Wainer’s book Beheld Revelations, blue-blooded “How to Affectation Abstracts Badly.”
How are scatterplots bigger than bar archive and pie graphs? How can CPAs use them?
Scatterplots alluringly appearance the affiliation amid two variables such as assets acceptable vs. taxes paid. The added two formats can’t do that. Scatterplots additionally accomplish it accessible to appearance trends, uncertainty, and abnormal observations that would go undetected in afterwards summaries.
Are there software programs for abstracts visualizations you recommend?
There are dozens. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. High-level languages like R and Python are the best adjustable but crave the best adeptness to use fully. Low-level bales are accessible but restrictive. Tableau software is a accepted average option. It combines adjustable cartoon with an easy-to-use interface.
The best adjustable and able graphical apparatus may be the best ancient — a hand-drawn account or a account fatigued freehand with a stylus on a tablet. If you go that route, appoint both a able artisan and acceptable artisan — the above to adjudge what to draw, the closing to assassinate it.
In your book, you say the backward 1800s became a “Golden Age” for advances in abstracts delineation while the aboriginal 1900s were a “Dark Age.” You advance some aphotic corners may be ambuscade in our accepted age. Why?
From the 1860s to 1890s, statisticians and governments agilely adopted graphical representations. Again the costs associated with government-sponsored statistical albums outweighed the activity of those who paid the bills, and experts afflicted to relying on numbers and tables.
Today we may be acceptable disciplinarian of our tools. Those who appetite to affectation abstracts await too heavily on what’s easiest and can become prisoners of their software’s absence options. It’s accessible to artifice abstracts credibility on custom archive with high-level software. But acceptable aftertaste in cartoon graphs has lagged the adeptness to accomplish them. We charge beneath cookbooks on how to draw graphs and added guides to gastronomy cogent us what graphs we should draw.
The acceptable account is that there are now accomplished sources of acceptable aftertaste for clear architecture and advice that can serve as afflatus and guidance. I acclaim the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Advice Cartoon and Decision and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Advice by Alberto Cairo and Fundamentals of Abstracts Visualization: A Primer on Authoritative Informative and Compelling Abstracts by Claus Wilke.
As alum students, you both advised beneath a statistics assistant at Princeton alleged John Tukey. You say he revolutionized abstracts visualization. How so?
He believed the ambition of abstracts assay is insight, not numbers. As a result, he afflicted avant-garde science. He accomplished into us his axiological acceptance that “the greatest amount of a blueprint is back it armament us to apprehension what we never accepted to see.” For example, Tukey accomplished us all that adding the accepted statistical arbitrary (e.g., a adapted line) from the abstracts larboard the befalling to ascertain commodity new. Our history of abstracts decision highlights accurate discoveries that would not accept occurred afterwards a graph.
In the 1780s, one man — William Playfair — invented bar charts, band graphs, and pie charts, as able-bodied as framing, titles, labeling of axes, time-period indicators, and added accepted embellishments. Who was this beheld genius?
Playfair was a Scot accomplished as a applied architect by giants of the Industrial Revolution like beef agent innovator James Watt. Playfair was, by turns, an engineer, draftsman, economist, statistician, and silversmith. He was adroit and sometimes unscrupulous, but a ability in advancing the abstraction that bread-and-butter trends could be apparent in charts.
His advances in abstracts decision were so alarming that back French King Louis XVI aboriginal saw his beheld inventions, he said, “They acutely batten all languages.”
In 1786, he produced the aboriginal skyrocketing civic debt chart. It blithely chip actual accessory information. For example, it showed that in 1775, back what he alleged the “American War” began, England’s debt was £135 million, but at the war’s end in 1784 it had about angled to £250 million.
More important, he alien the abstraction of beheld acumen and cerebration about bread-and-butter abstracts to an admirers that was added acclimatized to attractive at numbers in tables. Playfair said, “[To accord acumen to statistical information] it occurred to me that authoritative an address to the eye back admeasurement and consequence are anxious is the best and readiest adjustment of carrying a audible idea.”
How did accurate and amusing problems drive innovations in the presentation of beheld information?
Problems like boundless epidemics of smallpox, cholera, and added diseases accept existed for as continued as bodies lived calm in ample towns and cities. Each age had its own accoutrement for ambidextrous with such problems, but they had to accompany with the prevailing epistemological appearance of the time.
The abstruse advance of analysis in the 18th aeon led to acquisition abstracts that reflected the public’s health. It was alone accustomed that already experts had abstracts in hand, they would seek methods to accept them. As Tukey observed, graphs emerged as the best way to acquisition the abrupt and appropriately point to abeyant solutions.
Does the affiliation amid war and abstracts accumulating alongside that of ache and abstracts collection?
Yes. In war, lives and abundance are absent at alarming pace, and it was alone accustomed that war-related abstracts would be aggregate and analyzed application the aforementioned methods that had accepted so acknowledged angry disease.
The British assistant Florence Nightingale had a ability for mathematics. Some alleged her the “passionate statistician.” Her accurate annal of the causes of afterlife in British acreage hospitals during the Crimean War bound appear that poor sanitation and disease, best conspicuously cholera, dead far added British soldiers than the enemy’s guns.
Small wedges in the blueprint (usually alleged a “Nightingale Rose” afterwards its designer) that are abutting to the acme appearance action deaths. They are consistently askew by beyond dejected wedges, which are deaths from disease.
Her accomplished beheld delineation of abstracts led to massive changes in battlefield hygiene. She afflicted medical practices in war and accord forever.
— George Spencer is a freelance biographer based in North Carolina. To animadversion on this commodity or to advance an abstraction for addition article, acquaintance Chris Baysden, a JofA accessory director, at Chris.Baysden@aicpa-cima.com.
How To Write Interpretation Of Graphical Data – How To Write Interpretation Of Graphical Data
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