Aesthetically Informative

David McCandless created informationisbeautiful.net to visualize subject matter with the least amount of wording as possible. His belief is to help us better understand the world’s “information and knowledge into beautiful, interesting and, above all, useful visualizations, infographics and diagrams” (McCandless).

While exploring this confusing, yet interesting site of diagrams and visuals I stumbled upon a picture of colorful venn diagrams representing data for influenza viruses. The representation shows which virus affects humans, birds, bannerpigs, and other animals. Another fun representation is showing how many females and males use which social media outlets most often. McCandless’ site is really helpful because he uses mostly pictures and colors to speak for the data. Although there are words they are kept very minimal. This was a nice reminder for me to realize that there are other ways to get points and information across besides papers and words. The next time you are studying something boring trying creating a visual, incorporate colors, and figures…it might just make you want to look at your notes prior to an exam.

This is relevant to a reading by Lev  Manovich, The Language of New Media:  the database and the interface. Manovich goes in-depth about the database, how it works, and how it has evolved for different social purposes. A database is wonderful because it can hold tremendous amounts of information. However, this is also a negative thing because it cannot distinguish between what is of more importance, we “need a more efficient way to classify information” (3).

diagram-29982_640David Beer and Roger Burrows in “Popular Culture, Digital Archives and the New Social of Data,” mention McCandless in regards to visualizations on Facebook.  “This reveals both the level of detail about something as private as relationship breakdowns, the public visibility of this and also the possibilities that arise for using such data in creative and insightful ways. We get a real sense here of the ebbs and flows of relationship change, something that is not straightforward to study using traditional social science methods but which in a confessional society is made publicly available and visible. (Beer, Burrows).

McCandless shows us a website of diagrams and how we can look at and provide  information in more interesting ways while Beer and Burrows provide examples of our social media outlets that provide us with visual, public information as well.

This is useful when connecting education to the humanities.  It is easy to just regurgitate data and numbers in front of someone, but when you add something that attacks visually such as an accompanied picture, others will be more opt to pay attention.

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One thought on “Aesthetically Informative

  1. Pingback: “Visualization of Culture” or “Culture of Visualization”? | WIIH Fellows: New Media, New Knowledge

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