Straight Facts and InfoPorn

form_issue_01The Form Magazin has a extensive cover feature in about information visualization in this month’s issue. Karianne Fogelberg wrote a great article about current trends in infographics and questions whether classic propositions for graphical solutions such as clearity, perceivability and accessability still get treated as the main objectives.

Infoporn gets introduced as the term for an unhealthy focus on cursory aesthetics and this controversy remains the main topic in the article at hand. Some well known protagonists have their say in the article like Adam Bly from Seed Media Group, Ben Fry and Manuel Lima from Visualcomplexity.com.

The presented examples are works from Ben Fry, Catalogtree, and Pitchinteractive among others. Personally I often find it difficult to watch printed images of interactive visualizations that depend on user-interaction and require a dynamic medium to reveal their full potential to tell the intended story. But the printed high-res images are intriguing none-the-less.

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We’d like to point to an important thought about datavisualization that Peter raised a few weeks ago: There are a lot of visualizations that need to be learned to read and this is not a bad thing – readability is dependent on the target audience and thus a unreadable visualization is not imperatively a “bad” visualization. Most tools need to be learned to be used effectively.

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  • http://www.colorful-data.net/ Paul

    Trends in visualizing data will come and go, and those that stay earned this right because of their effectiviness, no doubt. A lot of experiments will have to be done to figure out which ones those are. Especially the last sentence of the article above is very important.
    Using Tufte’s data ink as a measuring scale, one can notice that a high ink consumption leads to so-called infoporn, where the represented data may not be worth all the visual detail. The opposite of it, trying to save as much of the ink as possible, results in maybe boring visualizations or ones that do not attract the viewer’s attention enough.
    Let’s find out what will be the future-proof ways to show information, especially for complex data. Inanimate bar charts and similar non-interactive representation techniques do a great job, but often hit the wall when it comes to really big data collections.
    Who knows… perhaps one day, infographics using such things as radial convergence belong to those even our mothers (see Peter’s article) find easy to use ;) Just keep it simple, right?
    As Peter writes, the design process should be designed itself by who we want to adress. Does the recipient have to work with it or merely consume it?
    Will buy this issue of form magazine tomorrow!

  • http://www.colorful-data.net Paul

    Trends in visualizing data will come and go, and those that stay earned this right because of their effectiviness, no doubt. A lot of experiments will have to be done to figure out which ones those are. Especially the last sentence of the article above is very important.
    Using Tufte’s data ink as a measuring scale, one can notice that a high ink consumption leads to so-called infoporn, where the represented data may not be worth all the visual detail. The opposite of it, trying to save as much of the ink as possible, results in maybe boring visualizations or ones that do not attract the viewer’s attention enough.
    Let’s find out what will be the future-proof ways to show information, especially for complex data. Inanimate bar charts and similar non-interactive representation techniques do a great job, but often hit the wall when it comes to really big data collections.
    Who knows… perhaps one day, infographics using such things as radial convergence belong to those even our mothers (see Peter’s article) find easy to use ;) Just keep it simple, right?
    As Peter writes, the design process should be designed itself by who we want to adress. Does the recipient have to work with it or merely consume it?
    Will buy this issue of form magazine tomorrow!