Every day, every where we are presented to visualised data, information, knowledge, messages, ideas …When we walk the streets, buy our groceries in the supermarket, surf the Internet etc.
You can’t avoid them … Subway maps, assembly instructions, weather forecasts, even a simple preloader is a visualisation of data loaded
Imagine a World without infographics and data visuals …Watching most PowerPoint presentation would be endless amounts of numbers and figures like this
Even worse … A World map would be one gigantic written description like …At the top of the Globe you will find The North Pole. A little further down you will find Greenland, Siberia, Northern Canada and Alaska. Moving even further down we have Northern Norway at the top of Scandinavia, which by the way looks a bit like a tiger ready to eat Denmark … etc.
1/3 of the human brain is dedicated to visual perception …So it’s not surprising that visualising information has such great effect.
When information is presented to us in a visual way, its much easier to understand complex patterns and proportions, and form a general view.
This is an example of aninfographic that gives you a perfectly clear and easy to understand message, comparing gallons of fuel per passenger of various vehicles. Shame on SUVs! ;o)
These two visuals are two very different examples on how to make an overview on relations. On the left it is MyMap, an alternative self portrait of a guy named Christopher Baker that shows all his email correspondences through 10 years.
This one shows the proportions of the largest bankruptcies in history, illustrating them as sinking ships of various sizes. Notice the enormous Lehman Brothers ship (691 B $) compared to “little Enron” (65 B $). Crazy!
Infographis and data visuals are not the sameInfographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge; often used to prove a point, enlighten or emphasize political.Data visuals visually display measured quantities by means of the combined use of points, lines, numbers, symbols, words, shading and color. Sometimes, though, the line between Infographics and Data Visuals are blurred and they mix up.
Information and data has been delivered in graphical and visual ways in centuries. Cave paintings, scientific drawings, maps etc. (Oldest World map, Anaximander, ca. 550 BC)
One of the most famous infographics is Joseph Minard’s map showing the tremendous losses of Napolean's army during his Russian Campaign of 1812. Napoleon starts offwith 422.000 men and returnedwithonly 10.000 men. A large ammountfroze to deathduring the retreat from Moscow.
Visualised with skill and finesse, data can look like stunning pieces of art … This is an visual illustration of a piece of music by Chopin.
Some are used in political propaganda … United StatesRed: In favor of the war in Iraq White: Against the war in IraqBlue: Don't know where Iraq is ColombiaRed: Exportation of bananas Blue: Exportation of coffee Yellow: Exportation of cocaine
Some are used in advertising and marketing… To the left, it’s an energy company using infographics to show what would happen if more people started using Smart Meters. To the right a “car-search-flowchart”.
Datavisualisation gets even more interesting and powerful when it’s animated. This is an ad for the Copenhagen Wheel project, showing how various environmental data are collected as you bicycle.
But when information is presented in an interactive and engaging way, infographics really becomes useful tools. This is the UX BASIS which is an interactive toolbox for digital agencies to help optimizing processes.
A few keys to communicating data and knowledge visually … Show comparisons Put into perspective Aim to serve a clear purpose Reveal relations Don’t fiddle with the data Be creative but don’t compromise the message
And lastly - Quoting Mr. EdwardTufte: “Don’t use bulletpoints”. Visual messages are much more convincing!
Infographics & data visualisation - Simon Vinther Nielsen - 2010 03 10
Every day, every where we are presented to visualised data, information, knowledge, messages, ideas …<br />
Imagine a World without infographics and data visuals …<br />=<br />
Even worse … <br />At the top of the Globe you will find The North Pole. A little further down you will find Greenland, Siberia, Northern Canada and Alaska. Moving even further down we have Northern Norway at the top of Scandinavia, which by the way looks a bit like a tiger ready to eat Denmark … etc. <br />=<br />
1/3 of the human brain is dedicated to visual perception …<br />
Understanding complex proportions and form a general view …<br />