Archive for the ‘Infographics’ Category

Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization by Alberto Cairo.

MOOC: Time: November 16 – December 13, 2015

From the webpage:

This is Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is offered by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong and the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin. This MOOC is hosted on JournalismCourses.org, the Knight Center’s distance-learning platform. It is designed primarily for journalists and the public in Asia, but is open to people from other parts of the world as well. The Knight Center’s MOOCs are free. Other online courses, with a limited number of students, have a small fee.

Goal

This course is an introduction to the basics of the visual representation of data. In this class you will learn how to design successful charts and maps, and how to arrange them to compose cohesive storytelling pieces. We will also discuss ethical issues when designing graphics, and how the principles of Graphic Design and of Interaction Design apply to the visualization of information.

The course will have a theoretical component, as we will cover the main rules of the discipline, and also a practical one: to design basic infographics and mock ups for interactive visualizations.

One hopes that given a primarily Asian audience, that successful infographics from Asian markets will be prominent in the study materials.

Thinking that discussion among the students may identify why some infographics succeed while other fail in that context. Reasoning that all cultures have preferences or dispositions that aren’t readily apparent to outsiders.

Investigation of Sound

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Investigation of Sound by Dorthy Lei.

From the post:

The word “infographics” has become a cliché nowadays. Whether you are a company trying to present marketing data or innovations to clients; charity that needs to effectively show the way you will spend donations; or, a lecturer sharing information to your peers and students. The question is still the same. How do you show your information in a simple and interesting way to your audience?

The answer is – Infographics

The definition of infographics according to the Design Handbook by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady is: “Information design is about the clear and effective presentation of information. It involves a multi and interdisciplinary approach to communication, combining skills from graphic design, technical and non-technical authoring, psychology, communication theory and cultural studies.” [Thissen, 2004]

We need infographics in many different situations. Presenting survey data, simplifying a complicated idea, explaining how something works and comparing information. This is especially true in today’s world where information is becoming increasing prominent in our daily lives. We can use infographics to make this clearer.

Looking back to six years ago, I was unsure what the word meant. I remember my tutors’ guidance in helping me to explore the concept for myself. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the many ways in which information can be presented visually.

In one exercise, we were asked to work with a partner and choose a space approximately three meters square. It was here that we would spend time on two occasions, and three hours on each occasion a few weeks apart.

The closing paragraph crystallizes why you should read this post:

An easy-to-read infographic makes information presentable and digestible to its audience. We have different types of infographics. Some are static, while other are interactive, allowing the user to explore and filter information as they please. I am glad I am able to tell the story of things which cannot be seen or touched. I believe this will help us to understand our lives for the better.

What “…things which cannot be seen or touched…” do you want to tell stories about?

This is Visual Journalism [100]

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

This is Visual Journalism [100] by Tiago Veloso.

From the post:

Edition number one hundred of our round up of infographics from the print industry, and the selection we pulled together today is a perfect celebration – after all, we have dozens of new works from newsrooms all over the world, making this one of the biggest selections published on Visualoop so far.

And in less than a month, we’ll be covering the 23rd edition of Malofiej Awards – the world’s main stage for journalistic infographics. We’ve actually begun our coverage, with two great posts: our friend Marco Vergotti, infographic editor of Época magazine, made this special infographic about last year’s Malofiej Awards; and this exclusive interview with the main responsible for the success of the event, the Spanish journalist Javier Errea. If you missed these posts, we definitively recommend you to read them.

I count fifty-four (54) stunning infographics from print publications.

Before you skip these as “just print infographics” remember that print infographics can’t rely on interaction with a user.

They either capture the attention of a reader or fail, usually miserably.

Which of these capture your attention? How would you duplicate that in a more forgiving digital environment?

PS: If you can’t capture and hold a user’s attention, the quality or capabilities of your software aren’t going to have an opportunity to shine.

Classic Visualization Papers

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

7 Classic Foundational Vis Papers You Might not Want to Publicly Confess you Don’t Know by Enrico Bertini.

From the post:

Even if I am definitely not a veteran of infovis research (far from it) I started reading my first papers around the year 2000 and since then I’ve never stopped. One thing I noticed is that some papers recur over and over and they really are (at least in part) the foundation of information visualization. Here is a list of those that:

  1. come from the very early days of infovis
  2. are foundational
  3. are cited over and over
  4. I like a lot

Of course this doesn’t mean these are the only ones you should read if you want to dig into this matter. Some other papers are foundational as well. For sure a side effect of the maturation of this field is that some newer papers are more solid and deep and I had to refrain myself to not include them in the list. But this is a collection of classics. A list of papers you just cannot avoid to know unless you want to risk a bad impression at VisWeek (ok ok it’s a joke … but there’s a pinch of truth in it). A retrospective. Definitely a must read. Call me nostalgic.

Take the time to read Enrico’s post and the papers he cites. Whatever your experience with visualization, you will be enriched by the experience.

I first saw this in “the sixth issue of DashingD3js.com’s Weekly Newsletter” but I can’t give you a link to it that is not tied to my subscription. ?? Nor is there an archive page for the newsletter posts. Until those issues are corrected, see: http://www.dashingd3js.com/.

Popcorn infographics

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Popcorn infographics by Aleksey Nozdryn-Plotnicki.

From the post:

On my way to Crete recently, I was flipping through the in-flight magazine when I stumbled upon this treat. This full-page piece was about Claire Cock-Starkey’s upcoming (at the time) book, Seeing the Bigger Picture.

You have to see the graphics for most of the post to work but thought it worth calling to your attention.

The book appears to be one of those that claim: “…no one has ever done it this way before.” You don’t have to read very carefully to discover there is a good reason why that is true.

Or to quote Alexksey when he cites a review of the book:

“Bought this for my 14 yr old – absolutely loves it and showed friends who were also suitably impressed. Thank you”

Seeing the Bigger Picture by Claire Cock-Starkey. Publisher: London : Michael O’Mara, 2012. I could not find any professional reviews as of November 19, 2012.

Can information be beautiful when information doesn’t exist?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Can information be beautiful when information doesn’t exist? by Kaiser Fung.

From the post:

Reader Steve S. sent in this article that displays nominations for the “Information is Beautiful” award (link). I see “beauty” in many of these charts but no “information”. Several of these charts have appeared on our blog before.

Kaiser comments on a number of the graphics that I pointed to in: Information is Beautiful Awards – The Results Are In!

Kaiser is far better qualified than I am to comment on the suitability of the graphics chosen.

I am less confident in his ability to judge the information contained by a graphic.

The information content of a graphic, like its semantics, doesn’t exist separate and apart from the reader/viewer.

If you think it does, do you have an example of information or semantics in the absence of a reader/viewer?

Do read Kaiser’s comments to get a different take on some of the graphics.

A chart that stops the story-telling impetus

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

A chart that stops the story-telling impetus

From the post:

We all like to tell stories. One device that has produced a lot of stories, and provoked much imagination is the dual-axis plot showing two time series. Is there a correlation or is there not? Unfortunately, most of these stories are false.

The post proceeds to illustrate that the relationship it depicts isn’t present in another presentation of the data. (Using “…home sales and median home price in Claremont over the last six years…” as a data set.

I don’t disagree that a different depiction of the same data is, well, different, but that was the point of the exercise. Yes?

That is to say that I would not make a chart of data that contradicted some point I was trying to make in an argument. Or at least that I understood was contradicting some point I was trying to make.

My personal rule is that when someone shows me a chart, statistics, test results, analysis of any sort, they are trying to persuade me that one or more facts are the case. What else would they be trying to do? (There is annoy me but let’s set that case to one side.)

I think library students and others need to be aware that vendors use charts and other means of persuasion because they are marketing a product. Not in bad faith because they may really believe their product will suit your needs as well as their need for a sale. A win-win situation.

What you need to do is push back with your understanding of the “facts,” with your own charts or interpretation of their charts.

Just as a tip, have your needs and your users’ needs depicted in colorful charts for sales meetings. So you can put a big red X on any feature you need that the vendor doesn’t offer. That is the card/chart you need to have on top of the stack at all times.

6 Reasons Why Infographics and Data Visualization Works

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

6 Reasons Why Infographics and Data Visualization Works by Matthew Fields.

Here are the reasons (see the post for reasons and the infographic):

  1. Short Attention Spans
  2. Information Overload
  3. Easy to Understand
  4. Reading Retention
  5. More Engaging
  6. People Love Sharing Infographics

What I find interesting is the effective use of text before you get to the infographic.

And there are some points I would add to the list:

  • No Thinking Required
  • Reinforces Prejudices
  • Shallow Understanding
  • Infographic Replaces Data

The last one, Infographic Replaces Data, is the most dangerous.

The debate shifts from what the data may or may not show, upon additional analysis, to what the infographic may or may not show.

Do you see the shift? If you allow me (or anyone else) to create an infographic, we have implicitly defined the boundaries of discussion. We are no longer talking about the “data” (although we may use that terminology) but about an infographic that has replaced the data.

In other words, if you don’t agree with the infographic, you have already lost the debate. Because we are not debating the “data,” but rather my infographic. Which I fashioned because it supports my opinion, obviously.

Thinking infographics as brainwashed data would not be too far off the mark.

Some infographics are worse than others, in terms of shifting the basis for discussion. I will round up some good examples for a future post.

The war on infographics

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

The war on infographics

Kaiser Fung writes:

Megan McArdle (The Atlantic) is starting a war on the infographics plague. (Here, infographics means infographics posters.) Excellent debunking, and absorbing reading.

It’s a long post. Her overriding complaint is that designers of these posters do not verify their data. The “information” shown on these charts is frequently inaccurate, and the interpretation is sloppy.

In the Trifecta checkup framework, this data deficiency breaks the link between the intent of the graphic and the (inappropriate) data being displayed. (Most infographics posters also fail to find the right chart type for the data being displayed.)

There are two reasons to read this post and then to follow up with Megan’s:

First, it may (no guarantees) sharpen your skills at detecting infographics that are misleading, fraudulent or simply wrong.

Second, if you want to learn how to make effective and misleading, fraudulent or simply wrong infographics, Megan’s article is a starting place with examples.