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Ethical considerations should take into account all the stakeholders. This includes catering for those who are disadvantaged with regard to the services being provided. In some instances, standards can be used to address such ethical issues. An example is the utilisation of redundancy, where more than one attribute is used to enhance perception.

Traffic light signals are an example where two attributes are utilised to enhance visualisation. In this instance, colour and position are used to distinguish the different signals. The standard signal colours and the standard spatial positioning of the respective signals make traffic signal cognition quicker and easier.

Colour has considerable ethical issues associated with it with regard to visualisations, such as different cultural meanings and colour blindness. In applications where the use of colour may influence insight, it is ethical to take steps to accommodate those who can be affected by the use of certain colour palettes, such as those with colour vision deficiencies.

Standards and guidelines play a vital role in such instances. An example is the guidelines on selecting colours that appear to everyone, including those with colour vision deficiencies (NIST 2008).

Dean et al. (2016) assert that there is a relationship between ethics and culture, as follows:

... norms form the determinants of what society believes is right or wrong, ethical or unethical. There are many definitions of culture, reflecting shades of similarities and difference. Culture has been defined as the shared implicit beliefs and tacit values that identify each culture as unique. Alas (2006) describes culture as the entire set of social norms and responses that condition people’s behavior – they are acquired and inculcated, not inherited. Culture has also been defined as shared motives, values, beliefs, identities, and interpretations achieved from the common experience of the group over generations. It reflects a group’s way of relating to their environment and to each other.

Hofstede (1980); Schein (1985); Ma (2010)

With this perspective in mind, visualisations that are produced for worldwide or diverse audiences should take into account the values of the audiences. These values depend on the cultural and moral norms of the individual audiences. The ethics will also in part depend on the cultural and moral norms of the audiences.

Interpretations of visualisations will in some instances differ due to different cultural perspectives, especially in emotional and social aspects. For instance, what may be considered innocent in one culture may be disturbing, distressing or revolting in another. These differences not only arise due to cultural differences but also due to other reasons, such as social conditions or experiences.