New publication!

Our new article has been accepted in PLoS Computational Biology:

Hattab G, Rhyne TM, Heider D: Ten simple rules to colorize biological data visualization. PLoS Comput Biol. 2020, 16(10):e1008259. (Link)

Methods for visualization of biological data continue to improve, but there is still a fundamental challenge in colorization of these visualizations (vis). Visual representation of biological data should not overwhelm, obscure, or bias the findings, but rather make them more understandable. This is often due to the challenge of how to use color effectively in creating visualizations. The recent global adoption of data vis has helped address this challenge in some fields, but it remains open in the biological domain. The visualization of biological data deals with the application of computer graphics, scientific visualization, and information visualization in various areas of the life sciences. This paper describes 10 simple rules to colorize biological data visualization.

  1. Rule 1: Identify the nature of your data
  2. Rule 2: Select a color space
  3. Rule 3: Create a color palette based on the selected color space
  4. Rule 4: Apply the color palette to your data set for visualization
  5. Rule 5: Check for color context in your data vis after the color palette is applied
  6. Rule 6: Evaluate interactions of colors in your data visualization
  7. Rule 7: Be aware of color conventions and definitions in your particular discipline
  8. Rule 8: Assess color deficiencies
  9. Rule 9: Consider web content accessibility and print realities
  10. Rule 10: Get it right in black and white

Written by: Heider