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Back in 2003 I tried introducing many of these techniques to our customers to look at their data in new ways. No one, not even the phd's among them had a clue how to use the visualizations.

We investigated and found that very few people even understood our basic charts (time series etc). An even bigger issue is that ~ 1/100 customers had the ability to take the numbers from a chart and use the numbers to change the way they did things. In other words few people could understand the charts, and even fewer could understand the charts and convert that into actionable information. To reiterate, these were basic time series charts.

We ended up writing a system to interpret the charts for them in plain language (making action easy), and highly annotating the charts with colors and indicators so they became able to be interpreted without any cognitive load.

I've completely gone away from all of the advanced visualization tools given my experience, and before introducing them again I would need strong evidence that it's actually working for our customers.




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