dreamlectures

It’s not know your audience. It’s respect your audience and really know your content. Look after truth and goodness and beauty will look after herself.

Smart words but missing a number of luminaries in this field.

dreamlectures:

The Art of Data Visualization | Off Book | PBS (by PBSoffbook)

Humans have a powerful capacity to process visual information, skills that date far back in our evolutionary lineage. And since the advent of science, we have employed intricate visual strategies to communicate data, often utilizing design principles that draw on these basic cognitive skills. In a modern world where we have far more data than we can process, the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is increasingly present in every aspect of our information-infused lives. 

I’m honored to contribute to the Harvard Business Review Insight Center’s series on Visualizing Data

The series includes an interview with Amanda Cox as well as Jer Thorp’s “Visualization as Process, Not Output.“ 

I also wanted to thank my editor Deborah Gump who I work with whenever I post anything of significant length. Deborah Gump has been gracious and relentless in helping me find focus and clarity. You can’t ask for a better editor. Thanks Deb! Follow Deb on Twitter, as well.

“I think it’s becoming only more important as we tackle more nuanced information. I don’t want the computer or the creator to tell me what to believe. I want an opening to say, ‘let me look into that machine.’”

This reminds me of an answer Jonathan Harris once said about the difference between video and photo. Most videos, as he put it, makes people go “wow” with arms raised and their bodies leaned back. But photographs make people go “wow” as the audience lean closer. It’s the difference between trying “to impress or stun people” vs “trying to invite people to participate” and “fill-in” what you’ve intentionally left out. Of course, he answered the question by telling a story of his teacher named Baz.

“We’re not going to dumb it down because we don’t want to teach to the lowest common denominator. We don’t want to take everyone back down to bargraphs!”

And as Amanda Cox put it in her HBR interview:

There’s a strand of the data viz world that argues that everything could be a bar chart. That’s possibly true but also possibly a world without joy.

dreamlectures

Another excellent walk through and visual explanation.

dreamlectures:

Hans Rosling: Religions and babies

Hans Rosling had a question: Do some religions have a higher birth rate than others — and how does this affect global population growth? Speaking at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, he graphs data over time and across religions. With his trademark humor and sharp insight, Hans reaches a surprising conclusion on world fertility rates.

Handmade visualization tool-kit (by jose.duarte)

I am exploring new and simple ways to represent information. That is why i made my own visualization kit-tool that i use to make any kind of graphics quickly. With it you can make any kind of graphics including: abstracts maps and diagrams, area graphs and charts, arrow diagrams, bar graphs, venn diagrams, time line charts, bubble graphs, circle diagramas, proportional charts, organization charts, and really, whatever you want.

Simple and brilliant.

Handmade visualization tool-kit (by jose.duarte)

I am exploring new and simple ways to represent information. That is why i made my own visualization kit-tool that i use to make any kind of graphics quickly. With it you can make any kind of graphics including: abstracts maps and diagrams, area graphs and charts, arrow diagrams, bar graphs, venn diagrams, time line charts, bubble graphs, circle diagramas, proportional charts, organization charts, and really, whatever you want.

Simple and brilliant.

The split is roughly 70% tidying up the data, 30% doing the fun stuff of visualising and presenting it.

For some people, the “fun stuff” would include “tidying up the data.” Investigating, editing and surfacing the issue IS the journalism.

As Luke Williams wrote in Atlantic Life’s “The Key to Design Insights: See the World Differently" »

Insights are the sudden realizations in which you interpret the observations and discover patterns.

Journalism in the Age of Data (by Geoff McGhee)

Former colleague, Geoff McGhee, did a great job of collecting today’s expert voices on data visualization. Some folks are simply data rock stars (ie: Amanda Cox). Looks like Geoff’s time with NYTimes’ video unit also paid off. The video gave a nice little hat-tip to motion graphics as well challenged the current trend of data visualization not connecting with our readers. Nice work, McGhee.

More details at

I’m not alone in the applause:

The best practitioners, such as The New York Times, have a big, interdisciplinary staff. “Design is part of what we’re doing,” says Steve Duenes, the Times’s graphics director. “But a bigger part is journalism, thinking about the news and creating an honest impression of the data.” The 30-person staff includes five classically trained designers; the rest are statisticians, cartographers, and reporters. Few can match that horsepower.

I, personally, don’t like the term “info porn” but rather drawn to “data visualization.”

Data Visualization on The Rise

In this research post, Four Ways of Looking at Twitter, from Harvard Business Review, Scott Berinato ledes with…

Data visualization is cool. It’s also becoming ever more useful, as the vibrant online community of data visualizers (programmers, designers, artists, and statisticians — sometimes all in one person) grows and the tools to execute their visions improve.

Agreed that data visualization is cool and the field is growing. But I wonder if data visualization literacy among non-dataviz is equally on the rise? I may have a distorted view from where I’m sitting, considering that the NYTimes graphics department has led the industry in producing interactive graphics. Then again…

The Obama Administration’s appointment of information-design expert Edward Tufte “to advise the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which monitors the way the $787 billion in the stimulus package is being spent” might indicate the government’s growing recognition of the importance in visualizing data.

In addition, sounds like Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg are betting on it as they recently launched their own agency Flowing Media in a not-so-crowded industry. The other agencies I can think of are XPLANE and stamen design. (funny how one is in ALL CAPS while the other is all lower case. Seriously. Check out their respective websites.) I’m sure there are others but those are the agencies that quickly come to mind.

Online tools such as Tableau Software and Many Eyes are meant to empower the general public in creating data visualizations for analysis. But are they the Flickr and YouTube of informational graphics?

For more blogs and resources on interactive graphics and data visualization, I continue to maintain the Interactive Narratives’ Interactive Graphics tab on NetVibes Universe. I also put together two Twitter lists on interactive graphics: organizations and people.