Data. It seems like such a simple concept. However in the 21st century with the immense proliferation of social media and the continual advancement in technology, this four-letter word has become much more complex and essential to our everyday lives.
We live in a time where information (data) is often translated from words, into zeros and dashes (binary data) and then back to words, but a staggering 65% (Crew 2015) of the world are visual learners. Images are processed much more efficiently than text at a speed of 13 milliseconds (Trafton 2014), compared to the 250 milliseconds taken to process text.
Neuroscientist agree that text simply can’t do what images can do, visual stimulus amplifies any message by accelerating communication, increasing comprehension, improving retention and stimulating a greater emotional responses.
Data journalist David McCandless (2010) states that by “visualising information it turns it into an info map to follow. Data visualisation therefor combines the language of the eye and the language of the mind”.
McCandless goes on to explain how by analysing the relationship between numbers, and by connecting absolute figures and relative figures with consideration to the wider context. We are able to see patterns and connections scattered across information, enabling us to see the bigger picture. This aggregation, curation and exploration of informational patterns is exactly what Vannevar Bush’s information system, known as the Memex (an automated information management system) aimed to achieve.
By applying information visualisation to the aggregated data, in the form of info graphics, charts, or graphs; viewers are able to process a collection of information faster and bypass any irrelevant information. If data is the new oil, then infographic are the engine.
So what does this all mean for my digital artefact? As a graphic designer my favourite aspect is possesses the ability to design information in a way that tells a visual story, done through highlighting the information that is important and framing it in away that makes sense and is easily digested. Thus, I was drawn to the medium of info graphics and data visualisation.
For my project I want to explore the aesthetics of data, examine the impact of visual literacy and its effects on cognition (Neuroscience) and examine how data visualisation can be used to generate new insight into issues. I want to have a go at aggregating and analysing a piece of data and creating my own piece of data visualisation. So stay tuned and watch out because things about to get visual.
Trafton , A 2014, In the Blink of An Eye, accessed 15 March 2016, MIT News, http://news.mit.edu/2014/in-the-blink-of-an-eye-0116In the blink of an eye
Crew, M 2015 Most Humans Are Visual Learners, accessed 12 March 2016, http://bootstrap-mktg.com/marketing-2/humans-visual-learners-2/
McCandless, D 2010, The Beauty of Data Visualisation, TedGlobal, accessed 10 March 2016, http://www.ted.com/talks/david_mccandless_the_beauty_of_data_visualization