Notes on visual representation

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Some notes regarding the representation of information. London College of Communication, MSc Information Environments

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  • These terms are often used casually but there is an important distinction to underscore. Facts appear in both definitions. In information, we can think of facts not in terms of being true or false but as artefacts, assertions, entities, or kernels. Knowledge is built up at least in part by information (and thus facts) but also as an experience. So knowledge is more a state of being than an entity.What interests me is how the representation helps information to become knowledge by the way it mediates attachment of meaning.
  • These terms are often used casually but there is an important distinction to underscore. Facts appear in both definitions. In information, we can think of facts not in terms of being true or false but as artefacts, assertions, entities, or kernels. Knowledge is built up at least in part by information (and thus facts) but also as an experience. So knowledge is more a state of being than an entity. What interests me is how the representation helps information to become knowledge by the way it mediates attachment of meaning.
  • Pieces of ochre rock decorated with geometric patterns found at Blombos Cave in South Africa, nearly 200 miles from Cape Town, in 2002, have been dated to the Middle Stone Age, equivalent to the European Middle Paleolithic."This ocher plaque has marks that may have been used to count or store information. A close-up look at the object shows that the markings are clearly organized. This systematic pattern suggests to some researchers that the markings represent information rather than decoration" (http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/behavior/blombos-ocher-plaque)
  • Mathematics began with the earliest records of attempts to quantify time. The Ishango Bone, a notched tally stick discovered in the Congo (Zaire) in 1960 by Jean de Heinzelin de Braucourt, and now preserved in the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, represents, according to Alexander Marschak, a six-month lunar calendar. It is among the earliest known mathematical objects. Other lunar calendars from about the same date have been discovered on other bones such as the Isturitz Baton, and possibly in cave paintings in Lascaux and elsewhere.The markings at the bottom are especially interesting because they make use of basic capabilities of the human visual perception to create meaning,
  • Fast forward a few thousand years, skipping past Sumerian tablets, Egyptian papyrus scrolls, and Gutenberg. We have perhaps the first attempt to produce a representation that graphs values in a regularised 2-D space. This example makes use of many attributes of our visual pereception system to encode values in a way that can be easily and quickly interpreted.
  • These properties include 2D location, length, width, shape, area, colour, etc.
  • Certain visual attributes “pop-out” from their surroundings. We don’t have to think about them to be aware of them. The are pre-attentive. Pre-attentive processing determines what will be offered up to our attention and action. The rose will become more important later…
  • Certain visual attributes “pop-out” from their surroundings. We don’t have to think about them to be aware of them. The are pre-attentive. Pre-attentive processing determines what will be offered up to our attention and action.
  • One way of becoming very aware of how much we rely upon our pre-attentive visual perception is by examining various optical illusions. By putting our pre-attentive visual processing and our conscious cognition in conflict, the degree to which we rely upon pre-attentive processing is exposed.
  • Visual perception does not measure absolute values, but rather the differences between values of what is perceived. In this case the colour surround the squares influences our perception of the colours of the squares. We perceive the difference between the colour of the squares and the colour surrounding them.
  • We perceive the difference between the colours of the squares based on the colours near to them. Thus, when we want to use a particular pre-attentive attribute such as hue, it’s best to choose values that vary significantly from one another. The top row of colours is easier to discriminate than the bottom row.
  • In fact, all of visualperception operates this way. The pair of lines on the left seem more different than on the right but in fact they are exactly the same. Both sets differ by the same amount: 1 unit of measure. The difference on the let appears greater because we perceive the differences as ratios rather than as absolute values. The ration of the lengths on the left is 2-to-1, a difference of 100%, whereas the ratio of those on the right is 100-to-99, only a 1% difference.
  • Certain visual attributes “pop-out” from their surroundings. We don’t have to think about them to be aware of them. The are pre-attentive. Pre-attentive processing determines what will be offered up to our attention and action.
  • dys- (greek): bad or difficultversusdis- (latin/french): negation, separation, reversal, or removal information place things into the former category which undermine our expectations about information and that can be a form of disinformation.Creature: dryicons.com
  • http://www.psywarrior.com/NKoreaH.html
  • http://www.slate.com/id/2172095/slideshow/2172113/
  • © 2010,Brock Craft
  • © 2010,Brock Craft
  • http://www.lostrailwayswestyorkshire.co.uk/images/donations/Ralph%20Rawlinson/Castleford%20Garforth/Timetable%20%20Castleford%20-%20Garforth%20-Leeds%201951.jpg
  • Chart: Daily Telegraph - telegraph.co.uk
  • The best pie chart I’ve ever seen!http://woldfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/real-pie-chart-pastry.jpg
  • Notes on visual representation

    1. 1. Some notes on visual representation<br />Brock Craft<br />
    2. 2. information |ˌinfərˈmāshən|noun<br />facts provided or learned about something or someone : a vital piece of information. See note at knowledge .2 what is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things : genetically transmitted information.<br />knowledge |ˈnälij|noun<br />facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject : a thirst for knowledge | her considerable knowledge of antiques.2 awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation <br />New Oxford American Dictionary<br />
    3. 3. information<br />representation<br />knowledge<br />
    4. 4. Forms of representation<br />Blombos Ochre 77,000-75,000 BCE<br />
    5. 5. Forms of representation<br />Ishango bone 25,000-20,000 BCE<br />
    6. 6. Forms of representation<br />William Playfair 1786<br />
    7. 7. Visual Perception<br />What we see is constructed<br />Resulting from several visual properties which are “built in”<br />We can perceive both the constituent parts and the whole<br />Has important consequences for interface design<br />
    8. 8. “Visual Variables”<br />Attributes of objects that pop-out<br />They are pre-processed<br />We don’t have to think about them<br />Form, Colour, Spatial Position, Motion…<br />
    9. 9. Form<br />Length<br />Width<br />Orientation<br />Size<br />Shape<br />Curvature<br />Enclosure<br />Spatial Grouping<br />Blur<br />
    10. 10. Colour<br />Hue<br />Intensity<br />
    11. 11. Spatial Position<br />2-D position<br />
    12. 12. Motion<br />Direction<br />
    13. 13. Perception by differences<br />
    14. 14. Perception by differences<br />
    15. 15. Perception by differences<br />100:99<br />2:1<br />1%<br />100%<br />
    16. 16. Where’s the dolphin?<br />
    17. 17. Visual Variables<br />Relationships among parts(scale, contrast, proportion)<br />Bertin describes “Visual Variables”SémiologieGraphique (1965, 1983)<br />size<br />value<br />hue<br />shape<br />- orientation<br />- texture<br />- position in 2D or 3Dspace<br />
    18. 18. Visual Variables<br />Associative<br />size, value, texture, color, orientation, shape<br />Selective<br />size, value, texture, color, orientation<br />Ordered<br />size, value, texture<br />Quantitative<br />position, size<br />
    19. 19. Visual Variables<br />Associative Perception<br />size, value, texture, color, orientation, shape<br />
    20. 20. Visual Variables<br />Selective Perception:<br />size, value, texture, color, orientation<br />
    21. 21. Visual Variables<br />Ordered Perception:<br />size, value, texture<br />?<br />?<br />?<br />
    22. 22. Visual Variables<br />Quantitative Perception:<br />size<br /> x:<br /> 2x:<br /> 3x:<br />
    23. 23. Visual Variables<br />
    24. 24. Principles of Visual Variables<br />Clarity – roles made obvious<br />Harmony – pleasing interaction of the parts<br />Activity – visual excitement, interest<br />Restraint – interest created by limitation of differences<br />
    25. 25. A Meta-taxonomy of Diagrams<br />Representation The graphic domain (graphic vocabulary)<br /> Graphic structure (spatial organization)<br />Message The information domain (ontological categories) Informational structure (relational properties)<br />Relation between the representation and the message<br /> Pictorial correspondence (realistic/abstract)<br /> Analogical correspondence (structure mapping)<br />Task and process<br /> Info. Processing (perception & problem solving)<br /> Tools (interaction with the representation)<br />Context and convention<br /> Communicative context (roles in discourse)<br /> Cultural conventions (society and representation)<br />Mental representation<br /> Mental imagery (nature of internal representations)<br /> Interpersonal variation (diffs between people)<br />Blackwell & Engelhardt, 1996<br />
    26. 26. Data graphics vsVisualisation<br />Plotting information to common representational forms<br />Maps<br />Charts<br />Tables<br />Wayfinding tools<br />Making it interactive<br />Ubicomp<br />
    27. 27. Dys-information<br />Misinformation<br />Deceptive: e.g., military (VOA, Tokyo Rose), Corporate espionage<br />Pseudo-utility: e.g., terrorist “threat level”<br />Broken information<br />Kiosks that don’t work<br />Illegible timetables<br />Chart junk<br />Pies vs tables<br />histograms<br />
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    34. 34. http://woldfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/real-pie-chart-pastry.jpg<br />

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