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Stephen Few, a respected IT innovator, consultant, and educator has studied the art and science of visual presentation for many years. In a White Paper prepared for Cognos Corporation, he presents seven principles for the effective display of quantitative information. The sixth of these is presented below:
“Not all information is created equal. It is often the case that some information is more important to your message than other information. You can communicate this fact in a graph by making those items that are most important more visually dominant (salient). It is your job, if you wish to communicate effectively, to direct people's eyes to the most important parts of the display, so they are sure to adequately focus on them. [If t]he title of [a] graph … clearly states at least part of its purpose[, say] to highlight what happened in March. This purpose [could be] visually reinforced by making the bars in March more salient than the others, … by placing borders around them.”