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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Wash U Study Finds Visual Design Increases Understanding of Public Health Data

Principles of scale, color, shape, and arrangement are commonplace to visual designers, but largely foreign to public health professionals. A new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis shows that applying best practices from visual design helps people understand population health data. A research team of public health experts from the Brown School and designers from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts created an interface which they called “Dataspark” to display incidence rates for colorectal cancer in California. Approximately 550 Californians participated in the experiment and were assigned randomly to one of three displays and then asked about their understanding of the data.