PBS just published a video about data visualization. Personally, I think they did a decent job representing the spectrum of style of data visualizations and infographics, with Edward Tufte representing the ultra conservative right wing side of the debate and Josh Smith of Hyperakt and Jer Thorp of Office for Creative Research representing the artistic-focused, liberal left wing. Data visualization means different things to different people – different people want different things out of it, and the video shows that there’s more than one perspective in the ongoing debate about infographics and visualization. But, if you disagree with that premise and lean to the conservative side of the debate, you’ll relish Stephen Few’s take on the video – A Gourmet Tufte Sandwich with Confetti Filling.
About the video:
Humans have a powerful capacity to process visual information, skills that date far back in our evolutionary lineage. And since the advent of science, we have employed intricate visual strategies to communicate data, often utilizing design principles that draw on these basic cognitive skills. In a modern world where we have far more data than we can process, the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is increasingly present in every aspect of our information-infused lives.
Edward Tufte, Yale University
Julie Steele, O’Reilly Media
Josh Smith, Hyperakt
Jer Thorp, Office for Creative Research