Colors in Visualization

Posted by Katie Kuksenok on April 03, 2012

In Russian, there is a name for a light blue, and a name for a dark blue, but not for what English-speaking people call blue. Indeed, language shapes our understanding of color differences and categories.

Although it can be entertaining to think about how other factors, like gender, affect categorization of color, the survey deployed and analyzed by xkcd’s Randall Munroe showed that chromosomal gender mostly doesn’t matter (and that nobody can spell fuchsia).

Color is used widely in scientific visualization. The influence of language/culture on color perception impacts the interpretation of such visualization to some extent, but other measures can be taken to improve the use of color in visualizations:

Written by lab member, student, and deliciousness enthusiast Katie Kuksenok. Read more of her posts here on the SCCL blog, or on her own research blog, interactive everything.