visual data
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visual data
learning, conceptualizing + communicating data with infographics, visualizations, etc...
Curated by Lauren Moss
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Seeing Color Through Infographics and Data Visualizations

Seeing Color Through Infographics and Data Visualizations | visual data |

Color is a crucial part of our visual experience.

It indicates many things in our lives, from the ripeness of a banana, to how someone is feeling, to which subway line we should be on.

Not everyone sees colors the same way, and colors have drastically different meanings in different cultures, but one thing we all have in common: color is important. These visualizations all show us different things about colors.

Visit the original article for over a dozen infographics and links related to color psychology, trends and various uses and applications.

Sylvie Mercier's curator insight, March 27, 2013 6:32 AM

Très joli !

Sara McLean, Allied ASID, CMG's curator insight, April 17, 2013 11:49 PM

visualizing color in unique ways is always a treat for the senses

Robin Martin's curator insight, April 28, 2013 8:26 PM


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Infographic: An App That Maps The Web In Real Time

Infographic: An App That Maps The Web In Real Time | visual data |

Mankind loves making maps, and the world wide web, densely interconnected and phenomenally complex, always makes for a nice visual.

Typically these take the form of neon blobs floating against black backgrounds, like frames captured from old Winamp plug-ins, and while they’re always nice to look at, they don’t always do much in the way of helping us understand the massive global network we traverse every day. This latest effort, however, is a little different. Called simply Map of the Internet, it’s as informative as it is beautiful.

The map, which takes the form of a free app for Android and iOS, features 22,961 of the Internet’s biggest nodes--not individual websites, but the ISPs, universities, and other places that host them--joined by some 50,000 discrete connections. The app gives you two ways of surveying it all: geographically, on a globe, or by size, which rearranges the nodes into a loose column of points. Both views are interactive; instead of showing the Internet as a static neon blob, the app lets you explore the neon blob in the round, with all the familiar multitouch gestures. It may not look like the Google Maps app, but it instantly feels like it, which makes exploring the underbelly of the web all the easier...

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Illusions in Data Visualization

Illusions in Data Visualization | visual data |

Data visualizations are effective ways for inputting information into a human’s brain, and some even state that visualizations are what makes our world real.

But even when the people who created the visualization are being honest, we can’t always trust what our eyes are showing us. We’ve evolved our visual perceptual system over millions of years (some other animals see optical illusions too) and it is extremely effective at what it does, but it still has some quirks.

In a data visualization context, illusions are dangerous because they can make us see things that aren’t really there in the data. Good practice helps us to avoid these optical illusions, but occasionally they can still sneak in through design choices, or just quirks in the way data lines up.

There are two main types of optical illusions: Physiological and Cognitive. When designing data visualizations, it can be useful to be aware of these illusions and keep an eye out for them...

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Infographic: 29 Ways To Be Creative

Infographic: 29 Ways To Be Creative | visual data |

Creativity is defined as the ability to create, but sometimes, we seem to lose that ability all of a sudden. 

Luckily, Jordan-based art director Islam Abudaoud has created a useful infographic that teaches us ways to stay creative. 

Titled ‘29 Ways To Stay Creative’, the infographic illustrates the “creative process and methods to keep a person moving forward and motivated to keep doing more”. 

For more information, check out the infographic at

Jacqui Hogan's curator insight, March 14, 2013 10:26 AM

EVERYone can be creative. 

Robin Martin's curator insight, April 28, 2013 8:22 PM

Love this inforgraphic! Very "creative!!"

Julien CHARLES's comment, May 16, 2013 7:40 AM
Really interesting and inspiring - Thx a lot.
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Artists use data to make political statements

Artists use data to make political statements | visual data |

Big data can feel impersonal, overwhelming and cold. But stark statistics are now being used to make intimate statements through art and public advocacy.

The past few years have seen the widespread availability of a large amount of data, thanks largely to the internet.

Census reports are easily searchable, campaign polling is expertly parsed and analysed, and online dating behaviour provides a glimpse into human sexuality.

Now more artists are using these impersonal details to make an impassioned statement; visit the article link for examples.

Astrakhan's comment, February 9, 2013 3:44 AM
DataScientists = Data Artists
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Tomorrow’s world: A visual guide to the next 150 years

Tomorrow’s world: A visual guide to the next 150 years | visual data |

As we begin a new year, BBC Future has compiled 40 intriguing predictions made by scientists, politicians, journalists, bloggers and other assorted pundits in recent years about the shape of the world from 2013 to 2150.

They range from the serious to the fanciful, from the exciting to the petrifying.

And to get a gauge on how likely they are to happen, we asked the special bets department at British betting firm Ladbrokes to give us their odds on each prediction coming true.

[View more at the link]

Alfredo Corell's curator insight, January 8, 2013 6:23 PM

Be prepared for the future...

Anthony Burke's curator insight, January 29, 2013 3:12 AM

How many of these will come true,,,ha...ha I remember some of the great predictions in the past that never made it, whilst the unpredicted did. Anyone remember the "atomic" egg that would fit in a box to power all your household power needs? Anyone remember all the free time we were going to have to manage because robots and AI would be doing all the work?

Guillaume Decugis's comment, January 30, 2013 12:33 AM
And flying cars for the year 2,000? ;-) Great infographic nevertheless. Thanks for sharing!
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A Remarkable Animation Of The History Of The Universe

A Remarkable Animation Of The History Of The Universe | visual data |
There’s so much we know that we’ll never see. We can extrapolate the concept of the Big Bang--the explosion of everything in the universe from a focused point.
So projects like Beginning, an animation by Grzegorz Nowiński from Novina Studio, are remarkably important. It tells a sort of good parts version of the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the rise of humankind. Not only is the piece pure visual delight filled with stark textures and fine particle effects that look particularly stunning when projected on water, Beginning is a grounding piece of context--somewhat imagined, sure--but the sort of imagined thing that very much centers our perspective of reality. The average person sort of knows what the Big Bang looked like because of projects like this one, even if Beginning is far more stylized than photoreal.
Lauren Moss's insight:

This project is an intriguing visualization incorporating sound, photography, and projection- view the animation at the link (FastCompany) and read more on the process involved in creating this 4.5 minute history of the universe...

Olivier Vandelaer's curator insight, December 18, 2012 3:37 AM

This project is an intriguing visualization incorporating sound, photography, and projection- view the animation at the link (FastCompany) and read more on the process involved in creating this 4.5 minute history of the universe...

cafonso's curator insight, December 19, 2012 6:53 AM

A história do Universo em 4,5' 

Jean-Michel Bayle's curator insight, December 29, 2012 11:57 AM

A voir absolument avant la fin de l'année 2012 ... Bonne Année 2013

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Beautiful, Nonsensical Infographics by Chad Hagen

Beautiful, Nonsensical Infographics by Chad Hagen | visual data |

As any graphic designer surely knows, the Internet is home to at least as many bad (or non-) infographics as it is a source for clearly-articulated, visually-compelling ones. This twofold criteria is the subject of Chad Hagen's "Nonsensical Infographics": they're certainly a treat for the eye... but the mind, not so much. Rather, as the title of the series suggests, the vibrant geometries are intended to be metacommentary on the opacity of these purportedly digestible graphics.

From the artist:

The science of infographics is an interesting beast. Infographics' level of success is always based on how much and how well they communicate their data—the classic form follows function. In this series, I reversed these roles—form is king and dictates what the infographic communicates. Welcome to the world of fictional visual information.

Visit the complete article for more beautiful + nonsensical infographics, as well as links for further research and more images...

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Best Practices in Data Visualization

Best Practices in Data Visualization | visual data |

In this new world of exploding data volumes, the ability to make sense of all this data and effectively communicate insights from it is a highly valued skillset. Communicating trustworthy insights includes choosing the appropriate data visualizations to tell a story or make a key point. That may seem trivial at first, but in fact, it is quite powerful. In some fields such as research, healthcare or military, the use of data and visualizations has specific guidelines since misinterpretations could impact human lives.

Most of the time getting data visualizations right is not a life and death matter, but it is important. There are several highly-regarded thought leaders with excellent reading material on this topic, including Stephen Few and Edward Tufte. If you have not read any of their books and you are in an analytics/business intelligence profession, consider this a “must do” before you build another report or dashboard.

In the meantime, read the article at the link for more details, a few of the most common mistakes and some best practices to keep in mind...

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Infographics and Visualizations as Tools For the Mind

Infographics and Visualizations as Tools For the Mind | visual data |
Designing an infographic or a data visualization is an act of engineering. Does this idea sound strange to you? Sometimes it does when I present it in lectures and classes. Many people tend to think that I am indulging in some sort of vague game of metaphors, but I am not. I say it quite literally. I believe that an infographic is a tool in a very similar way that hammers, saws, and screwdrivers are tools: They are instruments we devise and build to extend our capacities beyond their natural limits, to accomplish feats that would be extremely difficult — or even impossible — if tried without their aid. We humans are natural-born cyborgs. We are used to getting raw materials from the environment (whether that’s iron and wood, or information and data) and giving them shapes that are adapted to certain goals or tasks.

Think about it this way: Tools are not always actual objects designed to help us with physical activities. A notebook, whether it is a Moleskine or an Evernote digital document, is a tool that expands our memory. A digital calculator, whether it is an inexpensive machine bought in the nearest Dollar Tree or an app downloaded to your iPhone, frees you from the burden of having to retain and execute many complex mathematical algorithms. Non-physical tools (or sets of tools and practices), such as statistics and the scientific method, evolved to let us gaze beyond what we would normally see, and to overcome our deepest biases and lazy habits of mind. The same is true for great visual displays of information...

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How NASA Makes Scientific Data Beautiful

How NASA Makes Scientific Data Beautiful | visual data |

How do you make education interesting and, more importantly, beautiful? When it comes to the work of NASA, attracting enthusiasts isn’t difficult with the usual visuals of bright stars and colorful planets on hand. Look no further than the recent awe over Mars rover Curiosity’s high-res pictures to see proof of humanity’s fascination with space.

But not all of NASA’s data is packaged into a neat little photos. In fact, some of the organization’s most important findings about space come back in the form of numbers, beamed in by one of the many satellites orbiting our planet. And this information is brought to life by the Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS) — a team of scientists and animators that turns numerical data into a dynamic graphic or video.

The SVS is not only an active and creative tool for NASA outreach — it has even gone viral. Earlier this year, the SVS team received information from a project team called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, or ECCO, which uses mathematical tools to better understand how the ocean’s circulation patterns change over time. The result was Perpetual Ocean, a detailed and moving video interpreting a year’s worth of the ocean’s current patterns in minutes...

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Celebrate the 2012 London Olympic Games with These 14 Infographics

Celebrate the 2012 London Olympic Games with These 14 Infographics | visual data |
The 2012 Olympics are ramping up in England, and so are the visualizations of all the data related to the games.

The Ancient Olympic Games started in 776 BC in ancient Greece. After being abandoned in 394 AD, they were reincarnated in the modern form we know in 1894. The tradition continues today, and hopefully will continue for as long as humanity exists. They are a wonderful celebration of human physical capability and achievement, with new records set without fail.

In anticipation of this year’s games, here’s a list of 14 infographics about the Olympics and their impact on this year’s host city, London...

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How to create an infographic for your blog

How to create an infographic for your blog | visual data |
What is an infographic?

Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. Why are infographics so popular?

With so many online messages competing for our attention, eye-catching graphics are one way of grabbing your reader’s attention. People want their information quicker and using visuals are an excellent way to do this. Infographics can help your audience absorb information at a glance and they are ideal for sharing across multiple social media platforms...


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Under the Radar: Keeping Ads from Ruining a Great Infographic...

Under the Radar: Keeping Ads from Ruining a Great Infographic... | visual data |

There’s no mystery here: companies want to sell things. Increasingly, they’re turning to infographics to do it. But overt advertising undermines everything infographics do best. Instead of informing and delighting the viewer with valuable data portrayed with graphical verve, ads cheapen and annoy. More often than not, they land the project deep in the Internet’s vast wasteland of unshared content.

Infographics aren’t just ads dressed up in new shoes, they’re something else: a refreshing, informative, fun, and shareable tool for communication that we can actually enjoy consuming. Also, when done right, infographics can still help bolster a company or product’s public image.

Here are some oh so subtly advertorial infographics that show you how to get the balance right...

Aurélia-Claire Jaeger's curator insight, March 21, 2013 12:52 PM

Il n'y a aucun mystère: les entreprises veulent vendre. De plus en plus, elles se tournent vers l'infographie pour le faire. 
Mais l'intention publicitaire trop clairement affichée couplée avec une réalisation à l'économie nuit souvent à ce que l'infographie peut faire de mieux. Au lieu d'informer et de ravir le "spectateur" avec des données précieuses dépeintes avec brio, de nombreuses publications ennuyeuses ou banales vont simplement rejoindre la vaste friche de contenus non partagés sur internet.

Nous sommes inondés de publicité tous les jours, partout où nous regardons. Les annonces sont si répandues qu'elles ont perdu beaucoup de leur pouvoir. Les Infographies ne sont pas simplement des publicités habillées de nouveaux costumes, elles sont quelque chose d'autre: un outil informatif, rafraîchissant, amusant et partageable. 
Lorsqu'elles sont bien faites, les infographies peuvent encore contribuer à renforcer une image ou un produit. Voici quelques exemples qui vous montrent comment obtenir le bon équilibre.

(Traduction faite maison)

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Infographics: Harnessing the Power of Visual Communication

Infographics: Harnessing the Power of Visual Communication | visual data |

Is there any way to explain why a traditional post on Twitter containing text information obtains approximately 60 Tweets, while the same data displayed with infographics receives close to 600 Tweets?

Research has proven that the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. We decode language in a linear (and therefore slower) manner, yet we are able to process multiple images simultaneously. There are physiological reasons why we prefer visuals: the human retina comprises over 150 million cells. The neurons we use for vision make up 30% of our grey matter; neurons for touch comprise only 8% and neurons for hearing, a mere 3%.

Every single infographic has the potential to reach some 15 million people, especially when linked to the world’s most powerful social networking sites, and marketing professionals are fully aware that when it comes to emotionally connecting and engaging clients, visuals are the way to go...

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Create Your Own Information-Based Visual Display with One of these 20+ Tools

Create Your Own Information-Based Visual Display with One of these 20+ Tools | visual data |

While not everyone can make infographics from scratch, there are tools available on the Web that will help you create your very own infographics. In this article, we’re listing more than 20 such options to help you get your messages across to your readers, visually.

Via Steve Yuen, Let's Learn IT, Robin Good
Two Pens's curator insight, May 13, 2013 1:14 PM

Piktochart is easy to work with and creates a fair Infographic. I still prefer to hire an art director. It's worth the money to have an intelligent designer with you :-)

Eddie Thornton's curator insight, May 13, 2013 3:29 PM

Don't forget to add your perspecitve, your insight as to why this infographic add up to more than just numbers and figures on a chart.

Ness Crouch's curator insight, May 14, 2013 4:09 PM

Another great link to help create infographics. I'd like to get more time to create these for class...

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10 Tools for Creating Infographics and Visualizations

10 Tools for Creating Infographics and Visualizations | visual data |

Communicating visually is one of the most effective ways to explain complex concepts and relationships, and can be a great way to explain your services/products and create valuable site content.

Visit thelink for a list of tools you can use to create visualizations, or simply use to communicate visually with your teammates.

Antoine Cheret's curator insight, February 13, 2013 4:09 AM

C'est une tendance de fond : la représentation graphique des données, éléments clés de l'entreprise, des compétences ou des valeurs... Mais que faire lorsqu'on manque de ressources (pas de graphiste/infographiste) en interne ou en externe ? Les 10 outils présentés sont intéressants, souvent gratuit et le post comprend en plus des conseils pour conceptualiser son infographie, étape indispensable avant même de passer à la réalisation.

Donny Anderson's curator insight, February 25, 2013 8:02 AM

I have used before.  You need to be ahead on the technology learning curve to do this well, but don't shy away from trying!

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Top 10 Video Infographics of 2012

Top 10 Video Infographics of 2012 | visual data |

In the great tradition of end of year blog posts, here's a feature on the top 10 video infographics of 2012.

Over the year, I’ve curated 222 videos on this site [], and reviewed hundreds more. As part of my process of watching and curating so many infographic videos, I started to keep my own 3-star ranking system of these videos in a spreadsheet to help me keep track of those that I think are the most outstanding. The result was about 60 3-star videos in 2012. That’s too many to feature in a top X list so I turned to the Likes and Comments of my top ranked videos (and in doing so eliminated videos only featured on YouTube since YouTube comments are pretty much trash). This resulted in a list of 10 videos that had triple digit Likes on their Vimeo pages.

Voila! A top 10 list. So, in a ascending order, here are the top 10 most liked animated video infographics featured here in 2012, including number of Likes and Comments for each (as of December 30, 2012).

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New research & maps provide a detailed look at how the brain organizes visual information

New research & maps provide a detailed look at how the brain organizes visual information | visual data |
How does our brain organize the visual information that our eyes capture? Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used computational models of brain imaging data to answer this question and arrived at what they call “continuous semantic space” – a notion which serves as the basis for the first interactive maps showing how the brain categorizes what we see.The data on which the maps are based was collected while the subjects watched movie clips. Brain activity was recorded via functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a type of MRI that measures brain activity by detecting related changes in blood flow. In order to find the correlations in the data collected, the researchers used a type of analysis known as regularized linear regression...
Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, December 28, 2012 7:53 AM

Excellent articple about neuroscience - visual mapping.

Understanding our minds is important on all types of management tasks;)


Pedro Barbosa | |

Beth Kanter's curator insight, December 30, 2012 4:10 PM

Good points to make about why going visual is important

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Types of Graphs [infographic]

Types of Graphs [infographic] | visual data |
Graphs are a visual treat, as they can present complex information in a quick and easy manner. Mostly graphs are used to reveal a trend, compare statistics or they can be even used to establish relationship between two different variables.

There are several types of graphs and each graph has different display properties to represent the data. Based on the information, choose a graph that depicts data in an effective way.
This infographic shares some interesting information about different graph types.
Lauren Moss's insight:

A clear and straightforward infographic on the different types of visual representations of data related to charts and graphs, as well as typical applications and best practices...

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Visual Storytelling: A New Series from Column Five

Visual Storytelling: A New Series from Column Five | visual data |
Visual thinking can be applied to anything. The way we think about things visually is a matter of perspective. And perspective is the source of all great storytelling.

With our new Visual Storytelling series, we use information design and data visualization to bring a new perspective to the stories of everyday life. Some pieces will be serious, some humorous, but the aim is to provide a new way of telling stories that we can all relate to...

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11 of the Most Influential Infographics of the 19th-Century...

11 of the Most Influential Infographics of the 19th-Century... | visual data |
We live in a world steeped in graphic information. From Google Maps and GIS to the proliferation of infographics and animated maps, visual data surrounds us.

While we may think of infographics as a relatively recent development to make sense of the immense amount of data available on the Web, they actually are rooted in the 19th century.

Two major developments led to a breakthrough in infographics: advances in lithography and chromolithography, which made it possible to experiment with different types of visual representations, and the availability of vast amounts of data, including from the American Census as well as natural scientists, who faced heaps of information about the natural world, such as daily readings of wind, rainfall, and temperature spanning decades.

But such data was really only useful to the extent that it could be rendered in visual form. And this is why innovation in cartography and graphic visualization mattered so greatly...

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Are Our Transit Maps Tricking Us?

Are Our Transit Maps Tricking Us? | visual data |
Subway maps distort the reality on the ground for all kinds of reasons. What happens when we make decisions based on them?

London’s city center takes up about two percent of the city. On the Tube map, it looks four times as big.

Over in New York City, Central Park—which is a skinny sliver, much longer than it is wide—was depicted in some 1960s and ‘70s IRT maps as a fat rectangle on its side.

So public transit maps are distorted, quite on purpose. All of them enlarge city centers. Many use a fixed distance between stations out in the boonies, even if, in reality, they’re spaced wildly differently. Curvy lines are made straight. Transfers are coded with dots, lines, and everything in between.

According to Zhan Guo, an assistant professor of urban planning and transportation policy at NYU Wagner, certain cities allow for more flight of fancy than others. San Francisco and New York have a lot of geographic markers, so passengers will only accept so much map distortion.

New York’s grid system further discourages excessive futzing. In Chicago, the line is elevated, which leaves even less leeway. But in a place like London, with twisty streets, few geographical markers other than the Thames, and an underground system, you can pull a lot more over on people...

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Branding with Infographics: How to Build a Visual Language for Your Company

Branding with Infographics: How to Build a Visual Language for Your Company | visual data |
We have entered an age where visual communication is essential for any company. The need to tell complex stories quickly, effectively, and in a way that engages people is not just prevalent, it is universal. Brands that learn and utilize visual communication as a tool to distribute their message and inspire audiences will run circles around those who struggle to find their voice in the medium. Beyond the necessity to embrace information design, infographics also present an incredible opportunity to strengthen your existing branding efforts by developing a unique graphic style to be implemented throughout the company. Consistently creating arresting infographics that can easily be identified with your brand provides an incredible advantage in ensuring that the content your company produces, whether for marketing, customer education, or sales collateral, is both familiar and well received.

How do you get started in building a visual language? Read the complete article for five key considerations to ensure your approach is holistic and successful..

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An Illustrated Visualization of What Can Happen in a Single Second

An Illustrated Visualization of What Can Happen in a Single Second | visual data |

We’ve previously explored time and the scale of the universe, but what about the scale of time? Do we fully understand the 2.5 billion seconds most of us will experience in an average lifetime?

That’s precisely what prolific science author and illustrator Steve Jenkins playfully probes in Just a Second, a lovely and refreshing book for kids, doubling as a curious and enjoyable trivia compendium for grown-ups, and a fine addition to the year’s best children’s books. From the 5,085-foot water journey of a whale’s song to the 50 beats of a hummingbird’s wings to the 300-foot plunge of a peregrine falcon, the charmingly illustrated pages weave a kind of alternative metric system for telling time through the surprising things that happen in a single second — a measure that, as Jenkins points out, is a human invention...

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