Friday inspiration #5: Data visualisation

A friend of mine, Jeppe Morgenthaler, wrote a piece on data visualisation and open data some time ago with a title Online Data for All. I don’t know if I have mentioned this already in previous posts, but I was inspired by a random encounter in Siltanen some weeks ago about data visualisation so in that sense Jeppe’s article really hits the spot.

When it comes to data visualisation, some might think of pie charts and other static forms of graphic data representation, but this is only one part of the truth. In fact, there are previous studies on how to design data visualisations in order to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. Of course one cannot avoid those, but there are ways to avoid them and one approach is to take the audience’s perspective. What would you like to illustrate with the visualisation? What kind of data would the audience want to look at? And how?

And this is where it gets interesting. If we leave pie charts and whatnot behind, we’re taking a step towards creativity. But at the same time complexity increases and this might be tricky, because one of the points in data visualisations is to make the audience tick. Whether the data wants to energize, educate, entertain, or stimulate, the visual representation of that data can utilize various communicative means to make the point.

I’ll be looking at data visualisation and infographics later on in my PhD, but for now, have a nice weekend!

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