FAQ: Case Studies in Data Literacy - The Challenger Visualizations

This community-built FAQ covers the “The Challenger Visualizations” exercise from the lesson “Case Studies in Data Literacy”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Principles of Data Literacy

FAQs on the exercise The Challenger Visualizations

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How is the image for High Stakes Visualizations a good visualization? In my opinion, from a design perspective it doesn’t represent the event it’s referencing at all. Specifically, I feel that the image conveys the situation as a cute, whimsical event. When it, in fact, was a incredibly heart-breaking tragedy.

I understand not wanting to be too on the nose, so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities. However, I think there is an importance balance to be had between making something palatable, and conveying historical tragedies with accuracy with reverence for the victims.

I don’t bring this up to be rude at all, so I apologize if it comes off that way. I just think it’s an important question to ask, especially in regards to creating accurate visualizations that are both effective and empathetic.

Well, apparently, that was part of the image the agency actually used. I don’t think its very fitting for such a pursuit as launching astronauts to study a comet. I would think that even back then, they had better ways to show data. But then, was data as important of a tool as it is today? A lot has changed since the mid-eighties, Thank God! I am positive for the individuals responsible for this illustration’s presentation had the life regret especially once everything was determined after. Hindsight is really 20-20. I think its an encouragement to be asking ourselves and our teams questions if we are ever in a situation like this, whether the stakes are high or not, so that the job can be done most efficiently and so there are no regrets.

Overall both the original and revised visualization of the data look pretty rough. There are two models of rockets displaying the same rocket, but sometimes the visualization of what happens is on the first and not the second sketch, and vica-versa. It is also not clear what exactly happens, the only indicator is a dot with the description “No Erosion”. I know that it’s specifically done for NASA, but still, seems more complicated than it needs to be.

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