Visual Complexity

Data Visualization is here to stay!

I really enjoyed watching the documentary Journalism in the age of data. I think it shows the application of skills that we are learning in the program in real world use.  Countless times during the documentary I found myself saying, hey I know how they did that or I know what technique that is! I can admit it, saying that feels really good.

This documentary does a great job of showing the techniques, tools, and decision-making process that designers go through when creating there interactive content. Data visualization has already been around for years in the form of charts, bar graphs, and info graphics. But now since the explosion of the Internet and new tools that have been created users do not want to just see static information presented but want to have great visuals with their information as well as it be interactive.

The great thing about the new wave of data visualization is that it brings together so many different disciplines such as design, journalism, and engineering to make one-piece of information. Companies want to put there data online and for users to see it. Data Visualization allows them take boring statists and make it more appealing. Even if you have seen certain information before with this new method of telling a story through design and interactivity of the makes it seems like you are seeing the information for the first time. The visualization of the information really puts it into context. Actually seeing what the information is telling you in an appealing way will engage the reader more and make them remember the information longer.

The most difficult part of using data visualization is incorporating interactivity and graphic design into the information while being able to still tell a story with the info graphic. There are many different techniques you can use to accomplish this goal. Some designers will create the visual by showing you the data and instruct the users that they have to draw their own conclusion from the data. They give them the freedom of operating through the information and with that freedom every user will not take the same path so there will be different conclusions. Other options designers, journalist, and engineers have is the martini glass structure method where the developer guides user with story then open up the freedom of interactivity at the end. Interactive slideshow method is another option, it guides user step by step through the info graphic. And the drill down story method, which gives the user an overview of a set of topics then allows the user to go further into what specific area they want to know more information about.

No matter the method, design, or structure of interactive info graphics there main purpose is to inform. Every piece of information that is available to mankind is now hosted on the Internet. It is now our job as interactive media designers to pick the best methods so that we can inform, entrain, and appeal to our users so present them with the most useful and important information.