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Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

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Entries in data visualization (15)

Monday
Apr182016

Experts Predict the Future of Data Analytics and Visualization

IBM Watson Analytics is a data discovery service that guides data exploration, automates predictive analytics and enables dashboard and data visualization creation. Through their Expert Series videos, Watson Analytics explores the future trends of data analytics. I had the pleasure of participating in this series, along with other prominent figures in the field.

Watch these interviews to learn about today’s trends in data visualization, data analysis, and which trends we think will have the most significant impact on the future of analytics.

 

What trends in data visualization are you seeing today and what are the opportunities for the future? (2:24)

Cathy Harrison (@VirtualMRX), Randy Krum (@rtkrum), William McKnight (@williammcknight), Tony Adams (@tonyadam)

 

Which trend do you think will have the most significant impact on the future of Analytics and why? (1:52) (1:44)

Deborah Berebichez (@debbiebere), Randy Krum (@rtkrum), Anil Batra (@AnilBatra), Valdis Krebs (@OrgNet), Christopher Penn (@cspenn)

 

What is your #1 tip for anyone who is asked to use data to inform business decisions? (2:22)

Deborah Berebichez (@debbiebere), Miles Austin (@milesaustin), Juntae DeLane (@JuntaeDeLane), Anil Batra (@AnilBatra), Tony Adams (@tonyadam)

 

What trends in data analysis are you seeing today, and what are the opportunities for the future? (2:19) (1:37)

Emilio Ferrara (@jabawack), Bob E. Hayes (@bobehayes), John D. Cook (@JohnDCook), Juntae DeLane (@JuntaeDeLane), Miles Austin (@milesaustin)

 

 

You can also subscribe and follow all of the IBM Watson Analytics videos on YouTube:

 

Friday
Apr152016

The Truthful Art by Alberto Cairo: Interview & Giveaway

The Truthful Art is the newest book by Alberto Cairo, and the second book of a longer, planned series. Following the huge acclaim and success of his last book, The Functional Art, Alberto expertly dives into getting data visualizations both accurate and designed for effective communication. 

This month I am giving away one signed copy of The Truthful Art! Register on the Giveaways Page by April 30th to be entered.

The Truthful Art explains:

• The role infographics and data visualization play in our world

• Basic principles of data and scientific reasoning that anyone can master

• How to become a better critical thinker

• Step-by-step processes that will help you evaluate any data visualization (including your own)

• How to create and use effective charts, graphs, and data maps to explain data to any audience

Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, where he teaches courses on infographics and data visualization. He is also director of the Visualization program of UM's Center for Computational Science, and Visualization Innovator in Residence at Univisión, besides being a consultant for several tech companies. He is the author of the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (2012) and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication (2016).

Everyone should follow Alberto Cairo on Twitter (@albertocairo)! He is one of the most vocal dataviz experts online, and shares his wisdom and insights openly. Also, you can download a sample of the new book with the first 40 pages of the book available on Google Drive.

I sent Alberto a handful of questions about The Truthful Art:

Who is the book intended for?

In the Epilogue I joke that I wrote 'The Truthful Art' for my past self, 8 or 10 years ago. As a journalist and designer, I didn't receive appropriate training in data reasoning in college, and that led me to make many mistakes in my career. The book is for communicators of any kind (journalists, graphic designers, marketing folks) who need to deal with data on a regular basis. It's certainly a book about data visualization and infographics, but it also covers the steps that come before you start designing anything: Getting your information as right as possible.

How do you define the difference between a visualization and an infographic?

In the book I explain that the boundary between these and other genres is very fuzzy. For me, an infographic is a combination of words and visuals (charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations) that makes a certain story understandable for people. The designer decides what data to show, and how to structure it, sometimes as a narrative or story. A data visualization doesn't necessarily tell a story, but it enables people to come up with their own conclusions, by letting them explore the information. Infographics emphasize explanation, data visualizations emphasize exploration.

What does it mean for a visualization to be truthful?

The whole book deals with this topic. In general, it requires a proper, honest, and thorough exploration of your information; asking people who know more than you do about it; and then a proper choice of visual forms to represent it.

Why are we more likely to accept visual information as truth?

It's not just visual information, it's any kind of information. We human beings aren't skeptical by nature. Our default is belief.

It is only when we become aware of the multiple ways our own brain, and other people, can trick us that we begin questioning what we see, read, hear, and feel. It is true, though, that recent research has shown that visualizations make messages more credible; this is something that can be used for good or for evil.

I don't know why many of us tend to take visualizations at face value, but it may have to do with the fact that most of us unconsciously associate charts and data maps with science. Those graphics look so precise, so crisp, so elegant! They must be accurate and truthful, right? --Well, perhaps not!

How difficult is it to choose the right chart style?

Not that difficult if you think about the message that you want to convey, or the tasks you want to enable, instead of relying just on your personal aesthetic preferences. I love maps, and I wrote an entire, long chapter about them for the book, but that doesn't mean that everything should be a map. A map may give you certain insights, but may also obscure others. In many cases, a chart may be better.

How can we become better skeptics and critical thinkers when we see data visualizations?

The key is to remember a maxim that I repeat in the book: A visualization is not something to be seen, but something to be read. Approach data visualizations and infographics not as beautiful illustrations (although beauty is a very important feature) to be looked at quickly, but as visual essays. Read them carefully, ask yourself if the designer is showing everything that needs to be shown. Remember that a single number or variable means very little on its own. In infographics, context is everything, and comparisons are paramount.

Is complexity the enemy of good data visualization design?

Far from it. Many designers believe that data visualizations and infographics are intended to “simplify” data. As my friend, the designer Nigel Holmes, has repeatedly said, infographics shouldn't simplify, but clarify. Clarification in some cases means reducing the amount of information you present, but in many others it requires you to increase it. In the book I show some examples of graphics that fail because their designers reduced the data so much that they rendered it meaningless. If a story is complex, its representation will necessarily be complex as well.

This said, it is good to be reminded of that old maxim commonly attributed to Einstein: Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. Over-complicated visualizations are also problematic. If your message is simple or trivial, why creating an extremely intricate graphic?

What’s available for readers on the book website: http://www.thefunctionalart.com/p/the-truthful-art-book.html?

For now, www.thefunctionalart.com contains my blog, contact information, information about both books, and some other resources. I have added software tutorials, and will soon post some of the data from the book. My professional website, http://www.albertocairo.com/, which will be launched soon, will contain more resources.

Are you speaking at any upcoming presentations or webinars?

Yes. I post most of my speaking engagements and consulting gigs here: http://www.thefunctionalart.com/p/speaking-schedule.html

Where’s the best place to follow you online?

My blog and Twitter. I use Twitter (@albertocairo) to take notes for myself, and save interesting resources, so if you want to see what I see or read what I read, that's the place to go!

 

Thursday
Mar032016

Weather Portraits 2014 US Cities

Weather Portraits 2014 US Cities

Weather Portraits 2014 US Cities infographic poster is Nicholas Rougeux's project for visualizing weather data. The poster shows diagrams of daily wind and temperatures during one year for the most populated city in each state. He tried many different ways to visualize his data, a process that he outlined in his blog post, Making of the Weather Portraits poster. The final infographic poster can be seen above.

Each diagram includes five daily measurements for an full year in a city: wind direction, wind speed, high temperature, low temperature, and range of temperatures. 

 

Poster prints for 2014 and 2015 are available for purchase.

Colorful diagrams display five daily measurements for an full year in each city: wind direction, wind speed, high temperature, low temperature, and range of temperatures. Data were collected from the Quality Controlled Local Climatological Data (QCLCD) provided freely by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

Thanks to Nick for sending in his project!

Wednesday
Feb172016

Great DataViz Design: Justice Scalia's Ideology

Great DataViz Design: Justice Scalia's Ideology visualization infographic

The Upshot at the New York Times consistently does a great job visualizing data. How Scalia Compared With Other Justices is a fantastic example of clean, effective storytelling with chart design!

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia will leave the Supreme Court with equal numbers of conservative and liberal justices. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is likely to be the swing vote in most cases.

For social media, they published a simplified version that just shows the current Justices:

Justice Scalia's Ideology infographic

Why is this design so good? Here are my thoughts on why this chart design is great:

  • Minimal chart legend. The color key shows only 2 colors to designate the party of the nominating President. The names of all the Justices are built into the chart itself, which keeps that important information tied to the data in the reader's field of view. Default charts in MS Office would have created a different color for every Justice, and made this chart confusing and visually noisy.
  • Minimal axis labels. Notice the x-axis only shows a label for each decade. You don't need to know where 2004 is specifically. I think they could have minimized further to just the first and last years.
  • Use of opacity. Justice Scalia is the main story of the visual, so his line is heavier weight and bright color. This is a great use of preattentive attributes! All of the other Justices are shown is lighter colors for reference, and the main story stands out.
  • Minimal grid lines. There are a lot of lines on this chart, so only a few gridlines are included to keep the chart as simple as possible.
  • Minimal Text on the page. The chart is connected to a full article, but on this landing page the data visualization tells the story all by itself. The description text on the page is only two sentences long, leaving the visual as the visual centerpiece. 
Friday
Feb052016

January Roundup of DataViz News

I sent this out to the Cool Infographics Mailing list previously, but I wanted to share on the blog as well. This will be a regular feature sent out to email subscribers, but I haven't decided if I will always post these on the blog as well. Thoughts?

If you're not a subscriber, you can join the email list HERE. I try to send only a few emails per month, and load with them valuable information on dataviz news, design tools, tips, upcoming dataviz events, giveaways, discounts, discussions and other valuable links.

Please tweet links to any DataViz news that should be included in future emails to @rtkrum

 

Roundup of DataViz Insights, Tools, Tips and News

 

  • Can a love of abstract art and infographic design be combined? They have more in common than we originally thought! This article by Giorgia Lupi delves into how this type of infographic was applied in explaining the "global brain drain."
  • A woman of many talents, Dona Wong, author of Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics, tells all when it comes to creating infographics that have a purpose. With infographics, data needs to be more than just design. It should provide real insight into the findings, that are easily digestible for its viewers. Read more here if you’d like to apply her wisdom to the marketing world. She will also be speaking at the AMA Analytics with Purpose Conference next week. 
  • The New York Times has announced that Amanda Cox has been named has been named editor of The Upshot
  • Visually has now been acquired by Scribble Live, a leading content marketing platform, in the hopes of uniting data and creativity to reach target audiences more effectively.

 

Visme Graphic Design Mistakes By Non-Designers

 

  • Don’t be making these design mistakes! If you’re a designer, or if you’re just getting your foot in the door, use tips from Visme to ensure that each design you make is a hit. Use discount code COOL30 for a lifetime discount 30% off your subscription.
  • Are you a Prezi user? If so, they’ve updated a new feature to create charts using your data. Check out their tutorial.
  • Your business can benefit from telling stories by visualizing data. Data Storytelling: Big Data's Next Frontier from James Kerr on Inc. provided 5 Tips to establish a necessary data storytelling environment for your business. 
  • IBM's free online dataviz site, manyeyes, was shuttered on Dec 31st, and the visualization tools are being rolled into IBM Watson Analytics over time. To learn more about what they’re offering see, click here.
  • KANTAR and Information Is Beautiful have announced the 2015 Information is Beautiful award winners! Check out the whole gallery.
  • Malofiej 24: Infographic World Summit registration is now open, with an impressive lineup of speakers coming March 6-11 in Pamplona, Spain.
  • The O'Reilly Strata+Hadoop World Conference will be taking place from March 29-31 in San Jose, CA. Use code AFF20 for 20% off tickets you can purchase here.
  •  has opened for the OpenVis Conference in April, which will be held in Boston. 
  • If you're in San Francisco, there will be a public workshop detailing storytelling using data with Cole Knaflic on February 8th.
  • A FREE one-day event in Miami, FL will be held on February 20 in celebration of World Information Architecture Day.

 

New DataViz Books:

Building Responsive Data Visualization for the Webby Bill Hinderman

 

 

 


Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionalsby Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

 


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