Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 9th 2013 Contents MAY 2013 • WEEK TWO www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG21
Data visualisation is an increasingly
popular way of presenting complex
information. In the past two years
alone infographic search volumes
have increased by over 800 per cent.
The popularity of Infographics has
increased with the rise of social media, and by its
attractiveness to marketers, businesses and educators
seeking to provide content in attractive, bite-size
Telling a visual story
Infographics, the shortened name for information-
graphics, provide a simple way of telling a complex
story. For anyone working with statistics, reports,
marketing or information presentation at any level,
infographics will be an increasingly important element
of your professional communications.
Infographics are essentially visual representations
of data facts or knowledge using graphical aids. Info-
graphics typically present complex information in a
simple format, embellished by charts, icons and the
strategic use of color and fonts. Data visualisation is
the process of creating infographics.
Since 90 per cent of the information transmitted
to the human brain is visual, interacting with data
visually helps people make deeper connections with
that information. By using graphics, data visualisation
techniques can help improve cognition and enhance
how viewers discern patterns and trends in data.
Information is key
Most organisations have to deal deluge of infor-
mation on a daily basis. Whether it is packaging
financial information for the board; presenting market
trends for management team; or explaining how
things work for a class; infographics offer a quite
versatile presentation format to today s information
Still, conveying information remains the priority.
With data visualisation, graphics are simply used to
present data more clearly.
The infographics that tend to work the best are
the ones that present data in a really interesting way.
Defining your message and developing the design
concept to convey it, is most important. Consider
all the information that is relevant to your subject.
Be sure to properly research the data thoroughly,
using reputable sources.
Once you have a concept, you need to find the
information and figure out the best way to represent
it. The good thing is that you do not necessarily need
to hire a professional graphic artist to create and
effective infographic. In fact a lot of infographics do
not even feature fancy artwork. Often a combination
of clip art, charts, easy-to-read fonts and a few car-
toon-like images are enough.
The future of data visualisation
Like most things in today s technology driven world,
the data visualisation arena to rapidly evolving. Inter-
active data visualisations are emerging as a means
of given viewers the opportunity to interact with the
presented data. This is a whole new level above the
"traditional" infographic, allowing a viewer to drill
further into sections of interest in the data on their
own. Special programming tools and online resources
such as visually.
A world of opportunity awaits the creative indi-
viduals and organisations willing to invest in the
growing data visualisation market. The New York
Times has a group in its graphics department ded-
icated to online interactive.
Design studios are also catching on to data visu-
alisation movement. Research labs, academic insti-
tutions and corporate marketing units are also starting
to realise the value of infographics, and looking for
the resources to help meet the growing need.
Not everyone needs a full-time data visualisation
resource though. So freelance designers, developers
and information analysts can all explore the local
and international opportunities to service the global
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Why not begin telling your visual story today?
Bevil Wooding is the chief knowledge office of
Congress WBN (www.congresswbn.org), a val-
ues-based international non-profit. He is also exec-
utive director of BrightPath Foundation, an edu-
cation-technology non-profit (www.brightpath
foundation.org). Follow on Twitter: @bevilwooding
or at: facebook.com/bevilwooding or contact via
e-mail at: technologymatters@brightpathf-
How data visualisation is
changing the way we pesent
and consume information
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