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visual data
learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
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Can you trust an infographic?

Can you trust an infographic? | visual data | Scoop.it

A pictorial display of statistics, the infographic is a huge hit in the internet age.

But as one on rape figures has recently shown, they can be highly misleading.



A picture apocryphally speaks a thousand words, but its 21st-century counterpart – the infographic – often says much less. It's no surprise that the grabby and easily shared format has taken off in the internet era, and thlatest graphic to go viral is one on a tough and complex problem: rape and criminal justice...

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What Makes a Good Infographic?

What Makes a Good Infographic? | visual data | Scoop.it

Not even the experts agree. Despite sharing a common goal – to create solutions that meet their respective communication objectives – designers fight over the most basic notion in information design: what does and what doesn’t constitute an infographic?

Among the different approaches to visualization, one design element stands out in dividing the schools of thought: decoration.

Business intelligence expert Stephen Few sums up his disdain for the ornamentation of infographics: “When visualizations are used primarily for artistic purposes, they are not what we call data visualizations or infographics, which are terms that have been in use for a long time with particular meanings.”

Another highly visible figure, David McCandless, has popularized artistic visualizations and introduced data as a storytelling category to a wider audience. He describes his work:

“I love taking all kinds of information – data, numbers, ideas, knowledge – and making them into images. When you visualize information in this way, you can start to see the patterns and connections that matter.”

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Review: Designing Data Visualizations

Review: Designing Data Visualizations | visual data | Scoop.it
Here's how a rookie experienced his first introduction to visualization from Julie Steele and Noah Iliinsky's new book Designing Data Visualizations. What he learned and how this helps him to move forward.

It would be a good primer for people who are already working with data and looking for guidance about making their work more accessible; another group of people who might find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of choices they have to make while working on visualizations: designers with little knowledge about visual perception and how to apply its’ principles to their work.

Julie and Noah manage to introduce the basics of visualization in a very accessible and comprehensible way. Furthermore, the slim format and of the book makes it a great read for your next flight or train ride.

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The value of data visualization

The value of data visualization | visual data | Scoop.it
David McCandless has the rare ability to make sense out of our world with words and images.

As a data journalist and information designer with a killer sense of humor ("My pet-hate is pie charts. Love pie. Hate pie-charts"), his talk at Social Commerce Summit Europe was a hit. We wanted more, so we put the following interview together. Enjoy!

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Word Clouds Considered Harmful

Word Clouds Considered Harmful | visual data | Scoop.it
The New York Times senior software architect would like the newest "mullets of the Internet" to go back from whence they came.

So what’s so wrong with word clouds, anyway? To understand that, it helps to understand the principles we strive for in data journalism. At The New York Times, we strongly believe that visualization is reporting, with many of the same elements that would make a traditional story effective: a narrative that pares away extraneous information to find a story in the data; context to help the reader understand the basics of the subject; interviewing the data to find its flaws and be sure of our conclusions.

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Data as Art, as Science, as a Reason for Being

Data as Art, as Science, as a Reason for Being | visual data | Scoop.it

New York Times: Data as Art, as Science, as a Reason for Being...

The exhibition argues that major innovations follow a series of steps: 1) seeing (measuring various phenomena); 2) mapping (organizing information to reveal patterns); 3) understanding (using models to explain complex systems like weather); 4) believing (being convinced that change is possible and necessary); and 5) acting (designing systems that make the world work better).

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Infovis, infographics, and data visualization: Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science

Infovis, infographics, and data visualization: Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science | visual data | Scoop.it

My first goal is to get statisticians and social science researchers to think more about their goals in displaying numerical information. It would be great if infovis could inspire and empower researchers to better visualize their data, models, and inferences.

My second goal is for graphics designers and creators of information visualization tools and infographics to become aware of a statistical perspective in which a graph can not only be evocative of data but can also convey quantitative comparisons. Appreciating new tools is fine, but I think infovis could also benefit from focused criticism and improvement, which might start with refections on the goals of any graph.

My third, modest, goal is for statisticians and graphics designers alike to consider the virtues of multiple displays: maybe an infographic to grab the reader’s attention, followed up by a more conventional dotplot or lineplot to display as much of the data as possible, and maybe then an unusual and innovative plot that might be hard to read but might inspire some out-of-the-box thinking.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to recognize the limitations of our separate approaches. On the web, there’s plenty of space for multiple visualizations of the same data...

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Can infographics show you the money?

Can infographics show you the money? | visual data | Scoop.it
History teaches that deception is an easy way to get people's attention. Some infographics may accentuate the positive to point us to the truth, but most just create confusion.
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In Defense of Infographics

In Defense of Infographics | visual data | Scoop.it

Most data isn’t simple. When we hear that Americans donate over $300 billion a year to charity, our minds cannot grasp how much money that is unless we can visualize it. David McCandless lets us see how much money $300 billion is… by making it an infographic and comparing that amount to other amounts...

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Five Top Fives: Infographics from 2011

Five Top Fives: Infographics from 2011 | visual data | Scoop.it

In the run-up to Christmas, I’m going to be publishing my Five Top Fives of 2011, covering all the best content from this blog this year.

The first of these part of this Five Top Five series, here are five of my favourite infographics from 2011. Covering all aspects of social media usage from demographics to fundraising, these are the pick of the bunch that have crossed the keyboard this year. Hope you’ve enjoyed them too.

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Infographics: The Good, the Bad, and the Fluffy – Part 2

Infographics: The Good, the Bad, and the Fluffy – Part 2 | visual data | Scoop.it

In my earlier write-up on “Infographics: The Good, the Bad & the Fluffy,” I went over 5 things that weed out a good infographic from the bad & the fluffy for a content audit.

They include:

-Compelling data that tell a story.
-An infographic that’s relevant to the brand.
-Simple, clean design.
-Rich graphics.
-Succinct and engaging copy.
After developing this list, I was naturally interested in finding out what the folks I rub elbows with on a daily basis think about these visual displays of information. Following is a roundup of infographics chosen and critiqued by a few of my SF colleagues along with my comments based on the criteria above.

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Data visualisation: in defense of bad graphics

Data visualisation: in defense of bad graphics | visual data | Scoop.it
Well, not really - but there is a backlash gathering steam against web data visualisations. Is it deserved?

 

Are most online data visualisations, well, just not very good?

It's an issue we grapple with a lot - and some of you may have noticed a recent backlash against many of the most common data visualisations online...

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Enough with the so called 'infographics,'

Enough with the so called 'infographics,' | visual data | Scoop.it

Good infographics visualize contextual relationships and patterns found in data for the purpose of helping readers understand complex information quickly and clearly. Infographics are not a visual style for dressing up data. Rather, they are design solutions that employ visualization as a means for enhancing readability and understanding. Those who create and inspire some of the best examples of infographics today (Edward Tufte, Nigel Holmes, Stephen Few, the entire NYT graphic staff…) would tell you that they spend more time and thought on research and data analysis for their graphics than the actual production of the visuals themselves.

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16 Experts Answer, “What makes a great infographic?”

16 Experts Answer, “What makes a great infographic?” | visual data | Scoop.it

I think a great infographic is an imbalanced equation: the amount of information conveyed is disproportionate to the time it takes the viewer to process it. But this post isn’t about what I think (surprise). It’s about what the brightest minds in design, content and social business think. I shopped the question around, and the following is what 16 of my friends had to say.

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Visualising Data » Can a graphic be SO bad it starts to become good?

Visualising Data » Can a graphic be SO bad it starts to become good? | visual data | Scoop.it

Rarely has one piece of visualisation or infographic design ever broken so many established practices, principles and rules of effective communication. Take a look at the balloon element below. Case closed. It is essentially impenetrable on an interpretation level – it clearly does NOT make it easy to understand.

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