Effective statistical graphics can convey complex relationships between multiple observations across a large number of dimensions, but to construct useful visualizations requires a firm grasp over design principles that specifically address human visual perception and cognition. This course will tackle both the theoretical principles required to create effective graphics and teach the practical programming skills required to build them within the ggplot2 framework.
1. Motivation – Course kick-off will begin with a brief philosophical discussion on the use of visuals for communication, then quickly move into a survey of different types of statistical graphics and the “Grammar of Graphics” implementation in R, ggplot2.
2. Basics – We’ll follow up the previous section with a few more examples highlighting the use of data visualization before discussing data types, formats, and structures.
3. Perception – In this section, we’ll build a fundamental understanding of cognitive visual perception by introducing the Gestalt Principles and how they interact with the pre-attentive and hierarchical features of graphics to make effective visualizations.
4. Building Plots – With our understanding of design, we’ll shift gears to focus on the programming aspect of building plots using ggplot2’s layering approach to graph construction.
5. Special Topics – We’ll end the course with an overview of some of the more exotic plot types, survey other platforms for plotting and touch on interactivity.