facilitated by John Emerson
What is information visualization? information visualization tells a specific story with graphics, whereas data visualization is more exploratory, and about finding patterns in the data.
"Picture superiority effect" - images with words have a greeted impact than words alone.
We see difference in particular ways. For example, we notice a line that's twice as long more than we notice a color that's twice as dark.
Examples of information visualization
- Annual reports: heavy use of graphics to engage and make a point.
- Lets funders see that their money is working.
- Comic books (e.g. "I got arrested. Now what?")
- Brochures with schematics a la IKEA, that bypass language barriers (e.g. Vendor Power!).
- Maps with walking tours to tell history.
- Food wrappers with info about the food and the stories it tells about culture (e.g. Conflict Kitchen).
- Mapping donors - Mapped zip codes tell a story that's not visible in numbers
- Mapping layers - e.g. overlay lead paint with demographic mapping.
- CrashStat 2.0 (mapping ped/cyclist accidents in NYC)
- Green Maps in NYC
- Logging cronyism in Cambodia with royal family (networking viz)
- Valdis Krebs
- Collusion extension for Chrome
- Little Sis
- Journal of Aesthetics and Protest
- Information is Beautiful blog
Print vs online
- What are the demographics of the people you're trying to reach, and how can you reach them? Is your target audience online?
- Can you hand someone a website? (hint: no).
- Printed material has a certain permanence.
- Budget is always a factor.
- Online D3 for building vector graphics (keep design simple, focus on key focus point)
Things to Think About
Do usability testing!
- Do usability testing! Do usability testing! Make sure the information is as accessible and obvious as you think it is.
- Edward Tufte's rule of thumb: Eliminate "chart junk" (drop shadows, phony 3d-ness) as much as possible. By the way, Tufte teaches classes that are pretty reasonable.
- Representing values with area (inaccurate areas make differences seem greater).
- Phony 3d-ness distorts area (e.g. pie charts that appear to be tilted)
- Pyramid charts
- Zooming in that distorts relation between data sources (e.g. starting the Y-axis of a bar chart at 7 makes the difference between 8 and 9 seem greater than it is).
Subjective intensities of sensations tend to fall on log scales.
- How to design research questions to get neutral/non-leading questions (e.g. asking about gov't's intentions vs asking about what's actually happening).
- Data is the artifact of its collection (not a natural fact).
- It is easy to be unethical, and to tell slightly dishonest stories by including or not including information.
- Question about making a specific point vs. just giving info andletting the user decide.
- Data to frame the problem vs to propose a solution
- Paradox of the more data leads to less scrutiny