Information graphics are a tool for understanding so they have great potential for improving learning. But how do you start designing infographics? In this podcast, Alberto Cairo, visual journalist, educator and author walks listeners through the process. He also talks about the cognitive aspects of visualization. Alberto Cairo is a Professor of the Professional Practice at the School of Communication of the University of Miami. He teaches classes on visual storytelling and infographics. He is the author of the book The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization. He has been a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and director of infographics and multimedia at El Mundo, one of the main national newspapers in Spain, and at Época, the second news magazine in Brazil. His website is thefunctionalart.com, and he can be found on Twitter as @albertocairo. Some things we discuss: Real purpose of infographics Importance of anticipating what your audience will do Listening to science when it comes to perception Types of graphic to use for specific goals Questions to ask yourself when planning an infographic Infographics are to be read and used Problem with using pie charts for making comparisons Alberto’s infographic planning process Principles for designing interactions Tools and resources for understanding and creating infographics Books Alberto recommends: Functional Art The Design of Everyday Things Visual Language For Designers Information Dashboard Design Show Me the Numbers The Elements of Graphing Data Creating More Effective Graphs Tools for Creating Interactive Graphics (no programing required) iChart Google Fusion Tables Tableau Public Interactive Graphics (programming required) Processing D3 R Blogs: The Functional Art Flowing Data Information Aesthetics Eager Eyes Visualizing Data Time: 46 minutes
Tagged with “information” (28)
In 1970, futurist Alvin Toffler brought out a soon-famous book called “Future Shock”. It described a world in which people could no longer keep up with the pace of change.
In 2013, big thinker Douglas Rushkoff is out with a book called “Present Shock”. It describes a world in which the change has arrived. In a digital tsunami. And we are lost in it.
Tumbling in an overwhelming, almost tyrannical, “now.” A present in which we’ve lost our cultural narrative, our past, our future. We can drown or we can thrive, he says.
It’s puzzling that even though we named an age after information, very few people can tell you what information is. And the ones with the clearest answers are often defining information in the technical sense, which is not the sense in which the culture took it up. In this session, we’ll look back at information, trying to understand what about it led us to embrace it as the dominant — paradigmatic — way of understanding ourselves and our world. David Weinberger will present an informal sketch of a direction, suggesting that we leaped into information because it reflected a long-held but squirrely metaphysics. There will be lots of time for open discussion.
James Gleick is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Harvard and the author of a half-dozen books on science, technology, and culture. His latest bestseller, translated into 20 languages, is The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, which the NY Times called "ambitious, illuminating, and sexily theoretical." Whatever they meant by that. They also said "Don’t make the mistake of reading it quickly."
This year’s winner of the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, James Gleick, discusses The Information. Plus, will we see a Briton on the moon in our lifetimes?
As usual, microbes led the way. Bacteria have swarmed in intense networks for 3.5 billion years. Then a hierarchical form emerged with the first nucleated cells that were made up of an enclosed society of formerly independent organisms.
That’s the pattern for the evolution of information, Alex Wright said. Networks coalesce into hierarchies, which then form a new level of networks, which coalesce again, and so on. Thus an unending series of information explosions is finessed.
In humans, classification schemes emerged everywhere, defining how things are connected in larger contexts. Researchers into “folk taxonomies” have found that all cultures universally describe things they care about in hierarchical layers, and those hierarchies are usually five layers deep.
Family tree hierarchies were accorded to the gods, who were human-like personalities but also represented various natural forces.
Starting 30,000 years ago the “ice age information explosion” brought the transition to collaborative big game hunting, cave paintings, and elaborate decorative jewelry that carried status information. It was the beginning of information’s “release from social proximity.”
5,000 years ago in Sumer, accountants began the process toward writing, beginning with numbers, then labels and lists, which enabled bureaucracy. Scribes were just below kings in prestige. Finally came written narratives such as Gilgamesh.
The move from oral culture to literate culture is profound. Oral is additive, aggregative, participatory, and situational, where literate is subordinate, analytic, objective, and abstract. (One phenomenon of current Net culture is re-emergence of oral forms in email, twittering, YouTube, etc.)
Wright honored the sequence of information-ordering visionaries who brought us to our present state. In 1883 Charles Cutter devised a classification scheme that led in part to the Library of Congress system and devised an apparatus of keyboard and wires that would fetch the desired book. H.G. Wells proposed a “world brain” of data and imagined that it would one day wake up. Teilhard de Chardin anticipated an “etherization of human consciousness” into a global noosphere.
The greatest unknown revolutionary was the Belgian Paul Otlet. In 1895 he set about freeing the information in books from their bindings. He built a universal decimal classification and then figured out how that organized data could be explored, via “links” and a “web.” In 1910 Otlet created a “radiated library” called the Mundameum in Brussels that managed search queries in a massive way until the Nazis destroyed the service. Alex Wright showed an astonishing video of how Otlet’s distributed telephone-plus-screen system worked.
Wright concluded with the contributions of Vannevar Bush (”associative trails” in his Memex system), Eugene Garfield’s Science Citation Index, the predecessor of page ranking. Doug Engelbart’s working hypertext system in the “mother of all demos.” And Ted Nelson who helped inspire Engelbart and Berners-Lee and who Wright considers “directly responsible for the generation of the World Wide Web.”
We’re used to thinking of "obesity" in physical terms — unhealthful weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there’s also an obesity of information that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes: unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions.
In The Information Diet, open-source-Internet activist Clay Johnson makes the case for more "conscious consumption" of news and information. Johnson, the founder of Blue State Digital, which provided the online strategy for the 2008 Obama campaign, talks with NPR’s Scott Simon about ways to slim and stretch our minds.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg will eventually have to deal with the fact that all growth has limits." name="description
Leonard Susskind of the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics discusses the indestructability of information and the nature of black holes in a lecture entitled The World As Hologram.
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