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Design Principles for Visual Communication

“Visual communication via diagrams, sketches, charts, photographs, video, and animation is fundamental to the process of exploring concepts and disseminating information. The most-effective visualizations capitalize on the human facility for processing visual information, thereby improving comprehension, memory, and inference. Such visualizations help analysts quickly find patterns lurking within large data sets and help audiences quickly understand complex ideas.” (Maneesh Agrawala, Wilmot Li, and Floraine Berthouzoz ~ CACM)

The Form of Facts and Figures

“The topic of my Master thesis project is the development of a design pattern taxonomy for data visualization and information design. In its core, the project consists of a collection of 55 design patterns that describe the functional aspects of graphic components for the display, behavior and user interaction of complex infographics. The thesis is available in the form of a 200-page book that additionally includes a profound historical record of information design as well as an introduction into the research field of design patterns.” (Christian Behrens)

The Joy of Stats

“An hour-long documentary on statistics and infoviz produced by the BBC. Documentary which takes viewers on a rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics to explore the remarkable power thay have to change our understanding of the world, presented by superstar boffin Professor Hans Rosling, whose eye-opening, mind-expanding and funny online lectures have made him an international internet legend.” courtesy of jasonkottke

Dashboard Design 101

“The explosion of information that analysts and executives must consume, as well as the increasing variety of sources from which that information comes, has boosted the popularity of information dashboards. Modeled after the dashboard of a car or airplane—which informs its operator about the status and operation of the vehicle they’re controlling at a glance—dashboard user interfaces provide a great deal of useful information to users at a glance. Typically, the role of an information dashboard is to quickly inform users and, thus, enable them to take immediate action.” (Mike Hughes ~ UXmatters)

Journalism in the Age of Data

“Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?” (Geoff McGee)

Visualisations in Service Design

“The thesis provides an academic basis on the use of visualisations in service design. It is concluded that it seems like the service design community currently sees services as being not-goods, a line of thought other service disciplines have discarded the last ten years and replaced with a view of services as the basis for all transactions. The analysis highlights areas where there is a need to improve the visualisations to more accurately represent services.” (Fabian Segelström)

The Digital Life: Episode 1

“We are proud to present our first – prototype! – episode of The Digital Life: adventures in design and technology. The purpose of the show is to provide insight into various topics and areas of interest pertaining to the bleeding edge of the industries behind digital technology. Leveraging our years inside the most important and progressive companies in Silicon Valley, we will provide insights and an interesting and ever-changing array of special guests to entertain you while helping your brain grow bigger. Bull Session: InfoViz.” (Involution Studios)

Knowledge Visualization in Design Practice (.pdf)

Exploring the power of knowledge visualization in problem solving – “This paper presents knowledge visualization as a design activity in problem solving. In contemporary design practice the increasing complexity of problems and range of information that design practitioners engage with is driving the need for more robust processes and tools in order to design relevant, meaningful solutions for people. We situate visualization within a four phased model where the intent is to understand the dimensions of a problem. Visualization aids in sensemaking and cognitive processing of complex information. It accomplishes this through framing ambiguous states, bringing order to complexity, making sense out of seemingly unrelated things or finding insights that are buried in data. We propose that in a problem solving context its value goes beyond the functional level of simply representing information but rather operates as a powerful instrument for thinking in analysis, synthesis and insight generation. Visual models and frameworks serve as tools to illuminate relationships and meanings within data and define the areas to explore and construct solutions.” (Joanne Mendel and Jan Yeager ~ Parsons Journal for Information Mapping Volume 2 Issue 3)

Still awaiting Tufte’s influence?

“I concede that my knowledge of the US government is largely informed by the West Wing and so I don’t fully understand the relationships between and alignment of the various councils, departments, panels and bodies. Furthermore, I’m unclear about the role of the department that appears responsible for delivering the spending sites – Chief Information Officer’s Council nor entirely clear about the potential scope or reach of Tufte’s appointment.” (Andy Kirk ~ Visualising Data)

Celebrating the World Cup Visualizations

“We really enjoyed watching the World Cup over lunch here in the Cooper office. The games sparked many conversations about soccer, beloved sporting traditions, and why FIFA is so bloody minded about goal-line technology use (okay, maybe that last one was just from a bitter England fan). It’s also been a time to admire the many new and unusual visualizations used for the tournament brackets, game-by-game breakdowns, and statistical replays. For the fans that wake up in the coming weeks with an empty feeling, perhaps this library of visualizations will provide a glimmer of comfort and distraction until the next tournament.” (Nick Myers ~ The Cooper Journal)

Tufte & Beautiful Evidence

“It was a breath of fresh air not to be surrounded by fellow ad folk. Maybe you were there, but I didn’t spot you or find your tweets. There were certainly some designers and UX people. I found the lecture a mixed bag – it was certainly a lecture rather than a presentation. During the introduction and the conclusion Tufte seemed rather uncomfortable whilst reading from notes. But the core of the content, around analytical design, was delivered away from the lectern and that was when Tufte and the lecture came to life. My take out from the evening was that information doesn’t care what it is; but how it is brought to life is critical for its interpretation and power as a communicator. ‘Whatever it takes’ was Tufte’s recurring theme about how to visualise data, avoiding being a slave to a particular methodology.” (MBA Blog)


“FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization. Money spent, reps at the gym, time you waste, and personal information you enter online are all forms of data. How can we understand these data flows? Data visualization lets non-experts make sense of it all.” (Nathan Yau)

The Value of Visual Thinking

“Being able to think visually, break down complex ideas and synthesize them into something meaningful is my forte. It’s a skill that has landed me in the company of the smart and capable folks I currently work with. More importantly, I took whatever abilities I had and I gave them over to my ecosystem. In any social system, you always come to the table offering something of value rather than seeking it.” (David Armano)

A Scientific Approach to Infographics

“If you’ve been reading this blog regularly for awhile, you know that I occasionally bemoan the sad state of most information graphics. Most of the folks who produce infographics lack guidelines based on solid research. In their attempt to inform, describe, or instruct, most of the infographics that I’ve seen fail-many miserably. I’m thrilled to announce, however, that a new book is now available that takes a great step toward providing the guidelines that are needed for the production of effective infographics.” (Stephen Few – Visual Business Intelligence)

Designing for Big Data

“This is a 20-minute talk I gave at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco a couple weeks ago. In it, I describe two trends: how we’re shifting as a culture from consumers to participants, and how technology has enabled massive amounts of data to be recorded, stored, and analyzed. Putting those things together has resulted in some fascinating innovations that echo data visualization work that’s been happening for centuries.” – (Jeffrey Veen)

27 Visualizations and Infographics to Understand the Financial Crisis

“If there’s anything good that has come out of the financial crisis it’s the slew of high-quality graphics to help us understand what’s going on. Some visualizations attempt to explain it all while others focus on affected business. Others concentrate on how we, as citizens are affected. Some show those who are responsible. After you examine these 27 visualizations and infographics, no doubt you’ll have a pretty good idea about what’s going on.” – (FlowingData)

Scott McCloud on Comics

“In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.” (TED) – courtesy of presentationzen