Data visualization is the study of the visual representation of data, meaning “information which has been abstracted in some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information”.
According to Friedman (2008) the “main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. It doesn’t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often fail to achieve a balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve their main purpose — to communicate information”.
Data visualization is closely related to Information graphics, Information visualization, Scientific visualization and Statistical graphics. In the new millennium data visualization has become active area of research, teaching and development.
For this project, locate a set of data relating to one of topics below. (images and descriptions are from visualizing.org). The data set should represent at least 2 variables, i.e. number of people contracting a disease over time.
Create a graphical representation of the data with intent to upload to www.visualizing.org. You will need to create a user account!
Take a look at visualizations already created at visualizing.org and other locations for reference and for inspiration.
consider one of the following approaches:
- A visualization of the data with intent of representing it in a format that is as clear and easy-to-read as possible. Designed for print display in a poster format (18×24) or so, or for web display. The final dimension is up to you, but you should be prepared to explain your reasoning. Focus on accurate display of information without bias. Think about color choices, display method, use of design elements only to make the data understandable as quickly and accurately as you can.
- An information graphic that not only displays the data you have chosen, but also communicates other researched facts about topic. See the daily infographic postings at VisWorld.com for ideas. Note: This sight shows a number of well designed AND POORLY designed infographics. Be careful what you use as a reference.
- An artistic representation of the data for visual and emotional impact. This can be anything you choose with one stipulation: The data must not be manipulated. You are to clearly and accurately display the data, however the method you choose to do this might emphasize or deemphasize the meaning via design and artistic representation. One example of this would be the digital photography work by Chris Jordan. He uses imagery to display simple data with visual impact.
- Other. If you have another idea for your project that fits somewhere outside the list above, I am open for discussion. This may include interactive web display, installation work, video, etc. BUT, I will expect a very clear idea with very clear intent and reasoning.
- Group. If you would like to work on more complex projects in groups or pairs, please discuss with me.
Be sure to cite your data source. This should not be Visualizing.org. They are a secondary place of storage and reference, not the source itself. All sources should be cited when you download them on visualizing.org. Failure to cite your data will result in a 50% reduction of your grade on the project.
Step 3: Posting.
Upload your completed project to visualizing.org. Be sure to include a description of the piece and your methods for production.
Post a link to your uploaded visualization on the scimedia.wordpress.com blog under the Project 2 category.
- Thursday, Feb 3. Present your idea to the class. -this should be posted on the blog along with referenced samples. -this will be 10% of your grade.
- Tuesday, Feb 15, Review progress in class. – this will be 15% of your grade. I expect to see fair progress, roughly half complete.
- Tuesday, Feb 22, Project critique. Projects should be uploaded to visualizing.org BEFORE the start of class. You will present your work from the visualizing.org site, or, if you choose, you may print out the work or share high resolution photos (installation) of the piece.