Visual Information Builds Stories From Data

We’re seeing a movement where the value of visualizing information is becoming integrated into our own interactive user experience. Pinterest has become one of the most popular social networks because of its ability to organize images according to the users’ personal interests and marketing strategy all thanks to the Masonry layout design. Infographics are also becoming highly utilized to illustrate particular statistics in various fields such as finance, social media and politics.

This isn’t really a new discovery but it seems like we’re heading into a loop. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors used images to tell stories of their lives. Whether it is about hunting or ritualistic ceremonies, ancient cave paintings were used to tell stories and record it. The same is true to Egypt’s own hieroglyphics. Images portrayed Egyptian society from worshipping gods to an individual’s role in society. What was developed back then is now a functional way to present data and understand its meaning.

Why the popularity? You have to look at it from a cognitive perspective. We humans have a wonderful ability to process visual information alot faster than textual or verbal information plus we’re able to retain the memory more efficiently (for a more extensive explanation go to Interaction-Design.org). Whatever graphical display we see, we can decode and understand the data but in order to produce successful visual data, it has to be organized in a way that it can tell the story not just become eye candy of color and shapes. As media technology is becoming more accessible online, users would like the ability to dabble with the visual content through interactive means; this is evident in both new media art and websites but now journalism wants to adapt to data visualization as well and considering the state that it’s in, it’s a must.

In order to better understand this topic that I blogged, you need to watch the video that I added to the post. Journalism in the Age of Data was created by Stanford University’s online journalist, Geoff McGhee, and it illustrates how the journalism industry are using today’s interactive tools to both analyze and visualize data to tell stories. The programs that you will see can also be used beyond journalism; social media analysis and SEO keyword research can take advantage of the visual programs to better understand the connections that are being made, TouchGraph and Social Collider are two examples of social media visualization tools that are able to analyze online human connections.

TouchGraph for Facebook
TouchGraph is a data visualization tool that analyzes a Facebook user’s network.
Social Collider for Twitter
Social Collider uses data visualization to analyze and organize a user’s tweet stream.

Have you made any data visualizations or infographics yourselves? If so, did you feel that it was successful as a medium?

written by

I 'mFrankie De Sotoand I was born on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I graduated at the top of my class from the University of North Texas with a BA in Art and 2 minors in Marketing and Radio, Television, and Film. I have been doing graphic design for the past couple of years creating graphics for advertising, signs, brochures , and flyers but I decided to return to school to expand my knowledge into more new media applications such as web design, human /computer interaction, Flash animation and marketing communications. I graduated with an MFA in Arts & Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. My current studies are focusing on social media and marketing communications which in part encouraged me to begin this blog as well as my love for Hispanic culture and online media practices.
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One Response to "Visual Information Builds Stories From Data"

  1. The Infographic 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign says:

    [...] blogger, Frankie De Soto at MediaRumba.com , acknowledges that the new craze Pinterest is popular because people get to visually organize [...]

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