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Information Design Prezi

Developed for Communications Department students at Westminster College, this presentation provides content for a unit on information design for various writing courses.

Kathi Whitman

on 7 August 2014

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Transcript of Information Design Prezi

Designing & Evaluating Informational Visuals

Watch the TED Talk azzt:beauty_of_data_visualization.html
informational visual?
How can you select appropriate colors for your audience?
Check out: http://webdesign.about.com/od/colorcharts/l/bl_colorculture.htm
The Problem with Pies
Evaluation Questions for Visuals

What is the story the visual attempts to tell? Is the point of the story clear?
Is there too much or too little info to grasp quickly?
How easy is it to read the visual?
Is the information clear or confusing?
How is color used? Is it effective?
Is there unnecessary information included or necessary information missing?
Are there any distracting graphical elements? Are important elements missing?
What is misleading? Why?
Example #1
Example #2
Example #3
What is an EFFECTIVE
informational visual?
CREDIBLE — The visual avoids these data problems:

1. Ambiguity:
when data is not clearly defined. Make sure that you use all the components of a chart
to clearly define just what the data represent.

2. Distortion.
Data becomes distorted when:
A scale is inaccurate.
One axis (Y or X) is altered in relation to the other.
The time frame over which data is analyzed changes.
Visual size differences don't accurately reflect the values they represent.

3. Distraction.
Distraction occurs when, according to Edward Tufte, you have "...more ink than data." This is especially true in 3D graphics, pie charts, extraneous features, repetitive labels, some "infographics," and other elements of "chart junk."

For a quick overview of Tufte's principles and examples, visit: http://thedoublethink.com/2009/08/tufte%E2%80%99s-principles-for-visualizing-quantitative-information/
USABLE — Try to plan each graphic to make a single key point, and put your information in context for your reader.

1. Narrative Context.

The visual should make the most of captions, a legend, footnotes, and introductory narrative to put the information portrayed in context. Always introduce your visual in the text before the visual appears, citing the context of the information it portrays in relation to the narrative.

2. Layout.

Avoid busy screens as well as complicated or overly detailed visuals, and split your information into "bite-sized" chunks.

3. Color.

Don't allow color design to distract from contextual understanding:
Group categorically related elements using color.
Use similar colors to denote relationships.
Link color change to dynamic events.
Use color brightness to indicate action levels or priorities.
Reserve extremely bright and saturated colors for special purposes.

2. Tell a Story.

Information needs to be sequenced in meaningful and comprehensible "chunks"; lead people through the story, one step at a time.
— All your visuals need to be easy for your audience to read and understand the message; build on what we know about perception, such as making equal elements look equal, grouping related things, and making content stand out from background. Research tells us that we best understand (encode) information comparing variables in two dimensions or in terms of length.

For maximum readability, incorporate aesthetic principles in your design, such as:

1. White space.
Leave proportional free area (~10%) on all sides of your graphic elements (e.g., around axes, within border, between columns, etc.).

2. Attention-getting devices.
Use contrast and bold type for emphasis.

3. Fonts.
Use a single, sans-serif font to minimize distraction. Avoid all caps and underlining.

4. Color.
Readability can suffer tremendously when backgrounds and fonts aren't well planned. Follow these guidelines:
Be simple, clear, and consistent about color use.
For a colored background, use darker, bold colors; for a white background, use a pale pastel to eliminate the glare of white.
Use blue for large background areas, not for text, thin lines, or small shapes.
Avoid adjacent colors that differ only in hue and single-color distinctions for those with color deficiencies.

Just for fun...take this quick Graphics IQ test from Perceptual Edge:

Full transcript