Author: cgjohnson10

Wysocki

I found Wysocki to really support the CRAP principles, and  explain how her eyes follow the particular advertisement cited in the text. I thought her breakdown of why certain parts of the picture stood out was great, and was helpful in understanding how some small things that may be overlooked, can actually make a lot of the difference in the effectiveness of some designs. Later, she goes in to talking about judgement and a person’s reaction to a design. People have different reactions to things, and so just following CRAP principles won’t necessarily make your design stand out. There are different sensations that are uncontrollable, but she talks about how you can appeal on a person’s human traits to maybe guide that sensation.

Overall, I found the article to be a nice refresher on CRAP principles, and also a great breakdown for them. I know when I’m designing something for a client, I don’t always think CRAP while I’m designing, but it becomes almost intuitive to maintain these principles. Something I found interesting was the introduction of sensations that I hadn’t really thought about. I think it’s important to understand that not everyone will have the same reaction to a design as another person, and so it’s important to understand that. “When we see an object that is formed according to universal structures, then the particular and the universal are harmonized, and beauty is created” (164). I think this quote really stands out, since it effectively is saying harmony is beauty. Basically, universality is important. Keep elements in your design consistent, and if they work well together they will be beautiful.

I’ve always thought Nike has had some of the best advertisements. The subtle elements of this work is what stands out to me, the fractures on the text are fantastically done to represent explosive, as well as a trail of debris that seem to also be explosive. But otherwise the art is so simple. I think this is a great example of using the CRAP principles to make an effective design that guides your eyes through the information.

Wysocki says sensations are uncontrollable, but are there any ways to guide a viewer’s viewing experience to help them experience a certain sensation?

I like Youtube…

but this article also gives good representation of how I feel about the political side of Youtube. Jenkins talks about the role social media (mainly YouTube) has in the political world, by talking about the YouTube/CNN debates. This talks about the effect new media has on politics, as well as how new media might work with old media like CNN’s history in broadcasting.

The most interesting part to me, though, is the way larger companies also use YouTube to manipulate viewers. In a similar way the Obama Girl did, a lot of larger companies, corporations, or people will create a video whose purpose is to convince someone of a certain topic; so when a viewer is watching something that seems genuine and innocent, the viewer is being manipulated into thinking in ways the creator wants. Obviously, this is how videos are created, and good videos should help persuade, but when the viewer is being deceived, I don’t believe there is much moral standing for that. That’s my biggest problem with YouTube in politics and social media in politics.

So, in the way the Obama Girl video had an overall purpose of getting viewers to a newly launched website, many other videos are being created to manipulate viewers’ thoughts.

I think social media and alternative media is necessary in politics, and in news reporting in general, and I think that the role of new media is still relevant in the ways Jenkins talked about it. I’d like to think more companies could be honest, but that’s not how it generally works. If there was any way to keep bias and corruption out of alternative media, so every report was truly balanced, and only objective, would this be the best way of reporting on politics with new & old media, or is interpretation of facts & slight spinning of data necessary for these forms of media to work together?

Control?

I would be lying if I said I followed this article completely. To be honest, I don’t really have much of a clue as to what she’s saying. From what I gathered, though, from specific parts was that in China there was no real job for writing for the public, and because of that vacuum, the general media controlled the flow of information from the government to the people. The media acted as a mediator, but obviously had some control over the information being reported. SARS wasn’t well understood, and there wasn’t much information on the topic, but through research by Dr. Jiang, he was able to better understand SARS.

I’m not sure if the overall message of the article is that the media can be controlling, and sometimes isn’t the most reliable source of information; or if it means credibility is a major factor in having a reader-base that follows your information. Either way, though, obviously it seems that China had an issue with their vacuum of general-public writers, and an alternative media. I’m not sure how I can relate to this, maybe only by speaking about how the elections seem to be controlled by the American Media. These outlets are so abundant, and so differentiable, that it shouldn’t seem like there’s as much control, but to some people, once they’ve learned something they either don’t want to do more research, or would have that idea so planted in their mind, that no facts will shake it loose.

It’s upsetting that we’re at this point, but it seems like media has had control of information spread for so long. Sure, alternative-media should be used, but unless the general public accesses and connects with that alternative-media, there’s really not much that can change. How can alternative-media be more effective in preventing the controlled flow of information, how can the general public be certain in its credibility?

Storytelling

From the article, I felt the gist of it was to try to explain how storytelling can be used, but often reminded me that data storytelling is still evolving. The article does a good job of laying out what a narrative is, what a visual narrative could be, and who generally uses them, but in the section of “Storytelling with Data Visualizations” the article goes into detailing that artists and journalists are still feeling around in this subject, trying to find the most effective path to creating effective data visualizations. The article also cites examples, and goes into detail about many of the examples, highlighting recurring themes to help point out which parts might be the most effective.

For me, most of this seems like common sense, and the most difficult thing is implementation; in that, anyone can sit down and say: “I need to find a way to represent this data to connect to a reader, and I need this data to work with other relevant data to create a story”. And I think from there it’s also common sense to think of how you need to guide the reader effectively through the space, how you need to maintain spacing, alignment, and readability all to make the piece effective. But the difficult part, it seems, is how you effectively implement all of these pieces to create a storytelling experience; and I think the article is centered around that. How to find the BEST visualization of data for your particular data. Are there guidelines for you to follow, or is it mostly a new project for every set?

Using this picture, a lot of what’s being attempted to be accomplished, is already present in videos and writing. So, it seems easier to break down information and have almost complete control of the timeline when using video or text to present data. The major drawback is trying to accomplish this without having control of a timeline. Everything about a story is related to the time the events happen, and in one picture it’s difficult to control what the viewer is seeing. Ultimately, the goal of these data visualizations is to help guide the viewer through data. I think the best question to help solving the problems with storytelling is: What is the most effective way to control the timeline for a reader to better ensure the relevant data is seen at the right times?

Visual Explanations

Visual Explanations are important for communicating an idea to an audience, especially one that might be uninformed or under educated. The idea of visualizing information presented using pictures or graphs or charts can help guide a reader through observations, and help better represent important data. Was Tufte also the data-ink ratio guy? I think so, but I can’t be sure. I’m interested in how the two would work together; I would think if it’s important information, ink is well spent on visual explanations. Helping guiding a reader is helpful for retaining information, and can help the reader understand the points.

As far as visual explanations go, there are so many different ways to implement a visual explanation that it’s impossible to say you’ve found the best way to represent it, in my opinion. Everyone has a different way of retaining and learning new information, and so some representation may work for one person, and another for another. Charts are always helpful, since they’re objective data, and with a key note that can guide a reader through the information, it’s difficult to go wrong. The issue with charts is, it’s not always helpful in explaining how components work. For example, when explaining a computer, it might not be easiest to explain processing speeds using a chart, but rather using a picture to explain why certain processes take longer than others.

I remember in High School I took a biochemistry class, and we were expected to understand the citric acid cycle, and many other processes. Explaining something as complicated as this without using visuals is nearly impossible, there are so many steps and changes, that it would be inefficient to not use a chart. This chart easily guides the reader through the process of the citric acid cycle, and helps simplify a rather complicated process.

Which type of visual explanation is the most efficient and effective way to represent data points and  information?

The Effect of Visualization

Data Visualization is the representation of data in a graphic way. Using graphics to represent data. There are times where it’s necessary to use data visualization, and other times where the graphics are just unnecessary. Data Visualization is an art in itself. While it takes skill to create the graphics to represent the data, it’s also a skill in determining how the data should be presented and in which ways.

One thing with data visualization is that it helps a viewer grasp a large concept that could be foreign to them. Some data points may be unfathomable to people, or in some cases should seem unfathomable. But data visualization can be used to help bound a term so it’s possible for a viewer to see it, and maybe through visualization, can also form some sort of relationship between two data sets. On the other hand, if something is so drastic compared to another thing, through data visualization a person can just show how exaggerated that thing is, in comparison.

This infographic is a representation of the internet. To some people, the internet is a totally foreign idea and it just “works”. The internet is there, but they’re not sure why it’s there, or how it’s there, or what makes it there. This inforgraphic does a good job of mapping the internet, and showing what it takes to have the internet. It maps Internet Service Providers (ISPs), both small and large; shows networks and also shows internet exchange points. This infographic is used to represent a totally abstract thing to many people, and is useful in showing just how complex this tool is.

What makes data visualization so effective, wouldn’t something as simple as “a large, complex web of service providers and local networks formed together create the internet”?

What makes movement important?

I’m not sure if I follow the idea of the author, but to my understanding it seems like the author is saying animation isn’t effective in its application and because of that isn’t necessary. There is a great amount that goes into creating animations and are generally accepted as more engaging and effective means of communicating to an audience that I feel is overlooked in the article. Sure, the studies may have been faulty in their consistency of information shown in static vs animated graphics, but I don’t think the information is what makes animation useful. Surely, information is needed to make animation purposeful, but even then, animation is still engaging.

I think the major downfall of the article is how animation is used to engage the audience, and while it may not be as successful at relaying information, or even then necessary, good animation is generally more engaging than good design. I think there is some scale where bad animation is maybe less engaging than bad design, in that since the design is SO bad, it makes the viewer want to find the information. But in good animation, the animations have meaning and purpose and are used to guide the viewer through the content, which is helpful in retaining information and staying engaged. C.R.A. P. principles are still important in animation, but the added Movement topic makes CRAP -> CRAMP, but also adds another dimension to the design overall. An animation without movement is just a static graphic anyway, and so using movement can help to engage the viewer more.

 

This animated interactive infographic is an example of how slight movements can be used to move the viewer through the information in a way a static infographic can’t. Sure, the movement might not be necessary in providing the information, but to me the movement was helpful in guiding me through the information, which helped me retain more. So, should there be another principle of movement added to C. R. A. P., or is animation just generally unnecessary since the information can be seen regardless of the animation?