Exercise 3:Group Smell: Signal-to-Noise Ratio, Uniform Connectedness

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

 In design, signal to noise ratio is the ratio of relevant to irrelevant information in a display.

-signal is the information being presented in a design.

-noise is the irreverent visual information, which reduces the clarity of signal information.

The higher the signal-to-noise ratio means the less irrelevant visual information is presented in the design.

It is desirable to achieve the highest possible signal-to-noise ratio.

In order to minimize noise, one must eliminate unnecessary elements, or minimize them to the degree possible without compromising function. Noise can be in the form of unnecessary graphics, lines, symbols, etc… .an example of reducing noise is eliminating heavy lines on a chart or graph, and replacing them with thinner lines. This minimizes the lines, but allows them to keep their function. The thin lines are less distracting.

Maximizing signal is caused by the simple and concise presentation of information.


This is a graph with low signal-to-noise ratio


This is the same graph, but with high signal-to-noise ratio.


This is another example of a graph with low signal-to-noise ratio.


Uniform Connectedness

Elements that are separate from each other are connected by uniform visual properties. This is referred to as Gestalt principles of design. It asserts that elements connected to one another by uniform visual properties are perceived as a single group or chunk, and are interpreted as being more related than elements that are not connected.

There are two ways to achieve uniform connectedness, they are:

Common regions: Elements are grouped into boxes. an example is this T.V. remot. specific buttons are grouped together in boxes to show that they are related to one another.



 Connecting lines: Explicit lines used to connect elements. An example are these groups of dots. the dots are separate from each other, but they have been connected with lines.thing-11