*Have you encountered many/any box-and-whisker plots in the course of your work? On other dashboards?
I have rarely seen box and whisker plots used and the few times I did encounter them in a few peer reviewed journals I found them hard to decipher and moved on to data representations that were more intuitive.
*What about histograms?
I would say I have seen histograms used more frequently than box and whisker plots but also must admit I believe in hindsight I simply considered them bar charts with different formatting.
*If you have little or no prior experience with them, do you think they are easy to understand? If not, can you think of some alternate ways to display distribution data?
I find histograms more user friendly and they seem to portray the important data more clearly as well as prominently. I can certainly see the use of box and whisker charts but they definitely require prior experience concerning best practices for deciphering the data they are presenting. Either way they are both effective means of illustrating distribution data as long as the individuals reading the data is familiar with them.