Archive for August, 2006
From KnowHR Blog – Top 10 Best Presentations Ever
Although old in blogosphere now – but I had to post this
What is Infographic?
Infographics are visual representation of information and most probably the oldest learning and communication content designed by human being. From Egyptian Hieroglyphics the journey of Infographics started to visually communicate a complex concept document events or telling stories.
Modern Infographics started off as visual elements such as charts, maps, or diagrams that aid comprehension of a given text-based content. Today – in learning context, I would like to include process diagrams, concept maps, visual narratives, simulations etc. under Infographics.
Elements of information graphics
The basic material of an information graphic is the data, information, or knowledge that the graphic presents. In the case of data, the creator may make use of automated tools such as graphing software to represent the data in the form of lines, boxes, arrows, and various symbols and pictograms. The information graphic might also feature a key which defines the visual elements in plain English. A scale and labels are also common.
Napoleon’s March to Russia -
Map by Charles Joseph Minard portrays the losses suffered by Napoleon’s army in the Russian campaign of 1812. Beginning at the Polish-Russian border, the thick band shows the size of the army at each position. The path of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in the bitterly cold winter is depicted by the dark lower band, which is tied to temperature and time scales.
Edward Tufte, identifies six separate variables that are captured in the map.
- The line width continuously indicates the size of the army.
- The line shows the latitude of the army as it moved.
- The line shows the longitude of the army as it moved.
- The direction that the army was traveling, are distinguished by colors, tan for advance and black for retreat.
- The location of the army with respect to certain dates.
- The temperature along the path of retreat
XPLANE: Peoplesoft : Show Customers how you help them to win
PeopleSoft sells software to every functional business area in nearly every industry. The number and complexity of business processes that they must understand, support and enable with their software is staggering. Salespeople must understand the value PeopleSoft provides, and be able to communicate it to prospects and customers. XPLANE works with PeopleSoft on an ongoing basis, visualizing complex business processes so they can show prospects and customers how PeopleSoft can make their businesses run better, faster and smarter.
Why Infographics for Learning Content Design?
Our brain love to think and memorize in visuals, also we imagine the relationships between objects and information in visuals, not in words. Try this – If I say Pen, Paper, Computer and Telephone – what comes to your mind first? Does alphabets (P-E-N) appears first to you? Or the actual visuals of the objects recalled from your memory. Also didn’t you just visualize your working desk? As all the objects (Pen, Paper etc) immediately made a pattern in your mind and formed a context your mind spontaneously visualized a ‘complete’ picture. That’s why infographics are very effective tools for learning content design. Infographics represent data in a visual format which is easier for brain to articulate.
Most importantly, infographics can establish relationships between different set of information which is not possible otherwise. In business world graphs and charts are used in abundant to establish context visualization (well…not always very effectively!). A classic example of an infographic that not merely illustrates the content but interprets it in a manner that was not possible otherwise, was produced by Dr. John Snow to identify the cause of cholera epidemic in Central London. By plotting the two available sets of data about number of deaths and their corresponding locations, Snow was able to pinpoint the notorious contaminated pump well.
Not only for the knowledge comprehension – infographics are great for knowledge recall by recognition of patterns. We are better at recognizing things they have previously experienced visually than recalling those things from memory. It is easier to recognize things than recall them because recognition tasks provide memory cues that facilitate searching through memory.
Recall memory is attained through learning usually involving some combination of memorizing, practice, and application. Recognition memory is also retained for longer period of time than recall.
Early computers used command-line interface, which used recall memory for hundreds of commands. GUI eliminated the need to recall the commands by presenting them in menus.
by Venhatesh Rajamanickam
Details of interactive infographics classifications refer to Interactive Visual Explainers-A Simple Classification by Maish Nichani & Venkat Rajamanickam
Deconstruction of an Infographic
The Infographic discussed below is an actual project done by GetIT (my company) for Cisco Systems, Inc. All materials copyright belongs to Cisco Systems, Inc. The following Infographics is on Cisco Connected Learning infrastructure i.e. Cisco Network Infrastructure Solution for Universities – and the main objective is to provide required information to internal audience of Cisco and Customers.
Although this Infographic is single dimensional, without any step-by-step procedure and cause/effect scenario – I hope that it has achieved the purpose. We also learned a lot from the process of development.
Let me try to articulate the process we went through
- Collection: Collection of all the raw materials for the infographics – such as PowerPoint slides, White Papers, face-to-face interviews (multiple sessions), network diagrams etc.
- Identifying the objectives: Who are the target audience? What’s their range of technical knowledge? What are their main pain points? What we want to highlight to them? Great if you can sketch a persona.
- Classification: Grouping the infrastructures into physical spaces – in this case into the buildings
Blueprinting: Time to draw the each buildings individual groups (pencil sketch) with the technical details.
- Space planning: Basically – doing a collage i.e. sticking together different A4 size papers – the photocopies of the individual groups.
- Planning the Interrelations: Between the groups – quite self explanatory eh!
- Go digital: time to draw the infographics in the computer; we used Freehand and Flash (!!). Any Vector graphics editor should do the job.
- Integrate: the purpose of any infographics is to bring everyone to a same page and tell a complete story. Integration of different elements to tell a coherent story is the most vital step of creation an infographic.
- Optimize detail: Add in the useful detail, get rid of the extras, the balance between aesthetics and usability.
- Labeling: Copywriting and inserting the labels, tricky part – need to be specific and clear, yet short.
- Coloring: do I need to say what that mean?
Few more Steps for Creating an Infographics
As I mentioned there are different types of infographics. For organizations another very useful format of infographic is depicting a process flow. Sometimes those are very complex – specially the multidimensional ones. There are few additional considerations for creating infographics for those types
Establishing Context, Multidimensional and interrelations of the dimensions: problem of multidimensional infographics are that they can easily loose the context by information overload and loosely established relationship of different elements. Planning out the space mapping with just pencil and paper helps.
Establishing Causality: in a non-multimedia infographics it’s the toughest part, but the soul of a process or procedure flow infographics is cause and effect.
Where we are heading towards:
As the usage of courseware for trainings in the organizations are almost useless, the content providers need to reinvent their delivery methods. And to me – one of the great tools for quickly disseminate complex knowledge in a rich and engaging format is Infographics. Apart from printed and static ones, infographics are now coming in multimedia, in Flash interactive formats.
Bibliography & References:
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
Designing Infographics by Eric K. Meyer
After a long time – a looooong blogging break – I am back.
I was tied up – with many things, personal, workload etc.
Also I was having a Blog Out. I was blogging more and writing less.
Anyway let’s forget the ‘dog ate my homework’ and look into the future
I am just glad to be back.
Now, although I am back – I am bit confused right now. By some coincidences, alien invasion and sheer luck – I have been included in the management in my company. In simple words – I am no longer only a geek anymore – I am a geek holding a managerial position! My hairs are getting little pointy too!!
Oh well, bottom-line is, that my horizon expanded – now I need to look at the typical issues for small and medium size businesses apart from my regular consulting gigs!
Now a question to you – if by any chance I kinda sorta start writing about those things also – will that be too much? Will that dilute SoulSoup?