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Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

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Entries in Giveaway (16)

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!

 

Tuesday
Feb092016

O'Reilly Strata Conference Discount & Giveaway

The O'Reilly Strata+Hadoop World conference is coming up quickly on March 28-31 in San Jose, CA.

First, I have a discount code from O'Reilly that will get you 20% OFF the registration cost! Click this link, and use the code AFF20 during checkout to get the 20% discount.

Second, this month's giveaway is one free Bronze pass to the Strata conference! Register on the GIVEAWAYS page before 11:59pm CT on February 29, 2016 to be entered. I will randomly chose a winner on March 1st.

Monday
Dec072015

Giveaway: One O'Reilly Design Conference Pass

This month I have ONE conference pass to O'Reilly Design: Design The Future in San Francisco, CA from January 20-22. Conference pass only, any other expenses are your responsibility.

Register HERE by 11:59pm on December 31, 2015 to be entered. A winner will be randomly selected on Jan 1st.

I'll be going to the conference as well, so let me know on Twitter @rtkrum if you're going or will be in the San Francisco area that week!

This a new conference being held for the 1st time! The O’Reilly Design Conference is where interaction designers, UX designers, user researchers, product designers, product managers, and entrepreneurs will explore new ways design will shape the future. This three-day conference is a deep-immersion experience focused on providing designers with the full stack of skills they need to remain competitive and create the next generation of products and services.

If you are interested purchasing conference passes, click this LINK and use the discount code AFF20 to get 20% OFF the cost of the conference passes.

Friday
Nov062015

Giveaway: Visme Full Premium Subscription for One Year

I have ONE Visme Full Premium Complete Subscription to give away in November! I love this giveaway! Regular value $192

Register HERE by 11:59pm on November 30, 2015 to be entered.

A winner will be randomly selected on Dec 1st.

Easily create powerful Presentations and Infographics with full access to all of the premium features including infographic widgets, custom icons, templates, millions of free images, thousands of free vector assets, charting tools, private projects and engagement tracking for your content.

Check out the Visme site to see all of the features!

Monday
Oct122015

Giveaway: Data Visualization Training Video Package

I have ONE Data Visualization - 5-Course Video Training package from O'Reilly to give away in October! This is a great giveaway! Regular price $309.99, Over 14 Hours of online training

Register HERE by 11:59pm on October 30, 2015 to be entered.

A winner will be randomly selected on Oct 31st.

Successful data visualizations allow you to impart meaning and emphasis to your data points. This Learning Path will teach you how to display trends, patterns, and outliers while you discover the power of letting your data to speak. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be able to efficiently communicate volumes of data with ease. The Data Visualization training package includes all five course videos:

  1. An Introduction to d3.js: From Scattered to Scatterplot, Presented by Scott Murray | 2 hours 52 minutes
  2. Learning to Visualize Data with D3.js, Presented by Rafael Hernandez | 3 hours 52 minutes
  3. Using Storytelling to Effectively Communicate Data, Presented by Michael Freeman | 1 hour 30 minutes
  4. Effective Data Visualization, Presented by Jeff Heer | 2 hours 52 minutes
  5. Intermediate D3.js, Presented by Scott Murray | 3 hours 38 minutes
Wednesday
Sep162015

Giveaway: One Pass to Strata NYC Conference

I am pleased to announce the new Cool Infographics Giveaways page. I frequently have stuff donated to giveaway to the readers of Cool Infographics. Books, conference tickets, subscriptions, training courses, etc. My plan is to give something away each month, so check back often to register for the latest giveaway!

This month I have ONE conference pass to the Strata-Hadoop World conference in New York City from September 29 - October 1st. That's only TWO WEEKS away! Register by the end of the day on September 24th, and I will give away the pass on Friday, September 25th.

Register HERE

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