Information Visualizations: Kicking up your game
A while back, we had a pickle competition at Big Duck. Everyone brought in their favorite pickles, we had a blind taste-test, and then we scored each entry for flavor and crunch. One of our talented art directors, Rebecca Hume, subsequently created this information visualization to show us how they stacked up.
Until recently, the term ‘information visualization’ was mostly used by design cognoscenti (sort of like how grammar nerds like to talk about the ‘Oxford comma’). In case you’re still not sure what it means, information visualization is about taking data–the type of stuff you make pie charts and bar graphs out of–and creating more illustrative, engaging visuals that more engagingly make a point.
Creating an effective infographic, as they are also sometimes called, is hard work. You need someone with both the ability to analyze and understand data, and the skill to design something clear and elegant. They are also an excellent way for nonprofits to show their work in action. But how to get them produced without spending a fortune?
In the October 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review, author Scott Berinato’s piece “Visualizing Trouble” talks about how hard it is to do well, especially if you’re using some of the more recent free/cheap tech tools that now exist. More importantly, he cites a series of great books that will help the designers you work with get up to speed on how to do this highly specialized type of work better. It’s a must-read if information visualization creation (wow! Three ‘ion’ words in a row!) is on your to-do list for 2014.