Putting together a chart or a graphic that tries to share an insight is one of the most interesting parts of my work. Perhaps even more interesting though, is working out what people have actually taken away in their heads.
Most all of us have played Chinese whispers, and we totally get that the things we say aren’t always the things people hear. Sometimes though this isn’t just what we say and how it’s changed. Sometimes it’s what we seem to have implied, even if we didn’t mean to imply anything at all. Watching this whole other set of communication in how graphics communicate information can really stretch your mind.
A really cool way of seeing the impact of something like this is looking at the map of the London underground versus the actual map of London (thanx Infosthetics). Another way to see an impact is to look at diagram like the one below. If you saw it as a conceptual diagram then you might not think anything of the relative sizing of groups, but if you saw it as a true Venn diagram where shapes and overlaps represented meaningful relationships, sizes and overlaps your interpretation would be very different.
I try to be aware of what the graphic I build might be saying to someone beyond the thing I am trying to communicate, but generally all doing this does is teach me is that people can be very creative in applying meaning. There is a movement at hand to to ensure news infographics are based in fact and have some integrity. But how would we even know?
It’s a fun challenge isn’t it 🙂
PS. “Data isn’t like your kids. You don’t have to pretend to love them equally” – Amanda Cox (New York Times Graphic Editor)
A great piece of information visualisation/ consolidation in itself.
Something I will return to over and over.
PS. “We aren’t in an information age, we are in an entertainment age.” – Tony Robbins
I would normally have written a post on some topic this week but have seen numerous things that have just got me looking at the world going…what is wrong with all of us?
Much like a brainstorming process where you need to write the idea down to get it out so you can move to the next one, I am going to try to cleanse my mind of these things by writing them down here. And then I will move on.
Some of these I have problems with for completely different reasons, and not just the main headline or point of the articles. I have shown the links so you will know exactly what you are getting if you click on them (undoubtedly, some will cause offense).
So here goes, APPARENTLY…
– It’s a feel good story if a smoking toddler quits – http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STIStory_574070.html
– The homeless are more responsible for their plight than we think – http://www.theawl.com/2010/08/why-is-american-selfishness-so-widespread-now
– People can be not given a job, or interviewed, because they don’t have a positive online presence – http://daveibsen.typepad.com/5_blogs_before_lunch/2010/08/rejected-outright-for-the-job-because-of-their-online-image-.html
– The American left is in serious trouble because they aren’t prepared to play as dirty as the right – http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/have-you-no-decency-083110
– US Government protection from revealing sources should only extend to traditional media – http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/commentary.aspx?id=23303
– There is a serious problem with letting people play a game from either side of a conflict when the game can be sold near an emotive location – http://www.theawl.com/2010/09/videogame-mocks-everything-america-stands-for
– You can exhibit (as art) a one night stand – http://www.watoday.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/a-single-mans-onenight-stand-in-fleeting-exhibition-20100831-14f9j.html
– We don’t have to think through hoax ads – http://www.nerdcore.de/wp/2010/09/02/legendary-time-traveller-speaks/
– You ought to be the gatekeeper of your own work, rather than be forced to deal with a gatekeeper that has already earned their audience (I normally love Seth Godin’s stuff) – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/08/just-launched-linchpin-on-the-vook-on-the-ipad.html
– We should be careful about those positive archetypes – http://www.influxinsights.com/blog/article/2576/why-do-we-trust-farmers-.html
– You can get away with it, if no one wants to come after you – http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/curtin-lecturer-implicated-in-sexformarks-scandal-with-students-20100902-14p4g.html
– We can trust announcements – http://www.theawl.com/2010/08/the-american-experiment-on-the-last-day-of-the-war
– We only do things because someone else has an agenda – http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2010/08/billionaire-koch-brothers.html
I’m sure that I will feel better soon….
Now. Moving On.
PS. “Build a bridge. Get over it.”