Discussion


Note: Images may be inserted into your messages by uploading a file attachment (see "Manage Attachments"). Even though it doesn't appear when previewed, the image will appear at the end of your message once it is posted.
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
ColinE

Registered:
Posts: 6
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi All,

I have collected a set of data which I think will be of interest to a number of people. I have started plotting the data using various techniques and I am happy that this reveals some interesting stories.

I am debating the overall style that I will use for this presentation. Currently infographics seem to be very popular - it would seem that tacking the term 'infographic' onto the end of a report will guarantee more attention. The problem is, 'infographic' seems to be synonymous with poor data visualisation. 

I am wondering if the two can ever go hand in hand? It reminds me of this circle-lust post from a while back:

http://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/?p=799

The inforgraphic style imagery that was being discussed in this blog post was clearly terrible from a data visualisation perspective, but does look quite eye catching. The alternative, which Bryan suggested, is quite the opposite:

http://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/federal-spending-bar-graphs.jpg

Whilst good from a data visualisation perspective, it is very very dull!

The problem here is that infographics are designed to be eye catching, to grab the attention of the fickle reader, to draw them in and tell them a story.

Whereas data visualisation appears to be focused on end users that are already engaged and have an affinity with the data. Sales dashboards being a classic example.

So, my question is, can the two be combined? Has anyone seen an eye catching infographic that also follows the principles of good data visualisation?

Colin E.
Jeff

Registered:
Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, Colin. The two can absolutely go hand in hand. For proof, you might want to take a look at Alberto Cairo's blog (and book), The Functional Art (http://www.thefunctionalart.com). Alberto comes from a print editorial background and has a good sense of how to  incorporate effective data graphics and appealing visual elements. 

The reason that your example was criticized here is that it sacrifices a lot of information in the name of novelty and bright colors. A more promising approach to making a good, eye-catching visualization is to get the basics right first--make sure the core data graphics communicate effectively and accurately--then add a layer of graphical elements, additional information, etc., taking care not to do harm to the data you're trying to explain. 

Jeff

sfew

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 812
Reply with quote  #3 
To Jeff's comments I would like to add an enthusiastic "Amen!"
__________________
Stephen Few
jlbriggs

Registered:
Posts: 194
Reply with quote  #4 
There's also no reason that you can't have good, solid, simple charts representing your data, on a web page or print document that has other eye catching graphical elements that are separate from the charts...

I would personally like to see the trend of infographics that are giant static images go away in favor of using web technology in a logical way...

The current trend seems like a giant step backward to me, erasing all of the important work that has been done over the last decade with web standards, accessibility, etc.

Not to mention, they're usually completely terrible design anyway.  There's a big difference between good, eye-catching design, and big, gaudy, overstuffed poster sized graphics with 12 fonts, and an apparent contest to see who can make the most repulsively retro 70's style images  :)

sfew

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 812
Reply with quote  #5 
And in response to jlbriggs' comments I would like to shout "Hallelujah...preach it brother!"
__________________
Stephen Few
Jeff

Registered:
Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #6 
Are you starting a church, Stephen? :)
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation: