Author: dvedadi

Seeing Ourselves

After looking over this reading a couple times, I found myself struggling to be able to summarize this reading in just one phrase or sentence, which is something I usually like to try and do after each reading we have. I ultimately decided that the best way to describe the reading was something like “By using ourselves as subconscious guides, the design principles we use can often reflect the physical properties us as human have.” Wysocki seems to have that same thought process, and I would hope so as her writing is what my phrase was created from. Wysocki stats the reading, and goes pretty long length wise into the reading, talking about a ad found in the New York Times that features a column of text and a column of advertisement on each side. The advertisement on the right of the text turns out to be the focus of the reading and when you see it its no surprise why. The ad features a side view of woman wearing nothing but thigh high boots and are sleeves. Wysocki argues that the contrast of the woman, who seems to be much lighter than the background behind her, and the specific area of her body that is lit up the most (the lower area) are indeed evident of CRAP design principles, but that the values WIlliams uses for describing the ad are not specific and can cause people who are trying to learn about visual design to be misguided.

The idea that teaching the visual aspects of text can be counter intuitive to new students was something Wysocki said that I found interesting. Wysocki says that these approaches can’t account for a lot of what is going on in the advertisement with the woman, because the fact that an actual person is in the design makes the design principles less effective. Wysocki basically says that the fact that and actual body is involved in the ad, the other design elements like the text become backdrops for the ad, when they should be at least on the same level of focus as the image. I think the main point that Wysocki is trying to get across here is that having something we can relate to so much, specifically a person, in combination with text in a manner like this is a very ineffective way to have something visually designed.

It can be hard to design things away from what we know, this car having a design that looks like a face shows how familiar things can be inserted into everyday objects.

What changes could have been made to the ad to create a bigger emphasis on the information, and are these changes worth making when the ad captures so much attention already?


The New Age of the Internet.

Jenkins connects on his attempt to bring light to the use of parody in areas of high seriousness and low natural humor. I thought the style of this reading was very conducive to the information that Jenkins was trying to convey, and the layout of info helped me stay focused on what the point of the afterword was. Jenkins starts out by describing an event in political history that can be seen as a first in its kind. The 2008 democratic presidential candidate debate that is discussed by Jenkins is the first time American citizens questions are brought in from the internet, specifically in this scenario, they are brought in from Youtube. The questions are as you would expect from a platform where anyone with a camera and some free time and will can submit a question that has the ability to be seen by millions of viewers. Ranging from topics like gun control, to gay rights. The highlight of the night however is a video producer who uses a clay snowman to comically convey his worries about global warming. The video gets a lot of play in the media , so much so that when the same debate format is brought up for use on the republican side of debates, candidates refuse to take part because of the Snowman video and the possibility of videos like it that republican candidates deem not serious enough for the stage they are on.

Jenkins talks about the effects of humor in areas in youtube and how it an effect things like the election. Specifically he talks about how things like humor in high places can easily create dissent. I think this is appropriate in lots of places, but especially that of politics. Saturday Night Live is very famous for its parody of political figures and candidates, especially around debate and election time. Shows like Saturday Night Live post highlights of their programs to Youtube, like many shows do now a days in an “on demand” consumption of media type culture. These videos garner millions of views and it’s how I watch them myself. While spoofing the recent debates between Trump and Clinton, the show takes a obvious angle to exaggerate Trump’s many faults and mannerisms, while doing much less of this to Clinton. Whether these jokes towards the candidates are fair or not, they can create a level of dissent towards someone who may be unfamiliar with each candidate, and if this is the first exposure they are getting to what a person seems to be like, they make take it as what is actually the truth.

While SNL’s pokes at Trump may be rooted in fact, they can create come across as factual to the uninformed viewer.

Is the expansion and influence of the internet going to eventually cause things like presidential elections to embrace the internet, as to not get run over by it?

Find the Credible Source in the Haystack

I Think that this was a very interesting look into other countries , and how information and news is communicated. That’s my surface level reaction to this article at least, but the real reaction I had when I really thought about the information being told was all of the issues a system like this can have. Ding starts the article by explaining the outbreak of the SARS in China in a five month span from November 2002 to March 2003. Ding focuses on the fact that the heavily censored Chinese national media made very little attempt to release stories on the recent outbreak while it was going on. Because of this lack of coverage and information, less regulated areas of media decided to do what they could to spread the information, so they ran stories in much higher levels as opposed to the national media. Because of this, there was an extreme influx of news form smaller and more local areas of media. But in my opinion, and as Ding references, the over saturation of the media may be just as bad as the lack of it. With a topic so important to peoples lives and well being, hearing information from so many sources may do more harm than good, by spreading misinformation to people who will take it as fact.

The concept of having so many media sources that the true information is hard to find, or easy to be lied about, did not sound to foreign to me. You would think that since China as such prominent regulation and censorship, and the United States prides our selves on being the land of free speech, that we would be be much more in the know than those who get news in China. I do not feel this is the case. While we may get more news information than people in countries like China, I do not necessarily think this means we know more about what is going on. Any trip to a website like twitter when looking for news or information, will find a bevy of sources to search from. You’ll see information about one single story, from Actual verified accounts like CNN or The Washington Post, to amateur run account trying to get a following by taking legitimate news article and re-posting them, and/or trying to write their own, all the way down to spam accounts that take the logo and account name from accredited sources and use the click-bait method of getting people to click on tabloid like links. All of the freedom to spread news in this country can create a watering down of credible information, and make the truth much harder to come by. As the saying goes, “When everyone has a voice, no one has a voice.”

Fake national news accounts like this one are all over social media sites like twitter, which only bogs down the credible information on the internet.

What is the best way to receive correct information in a county like China? Would a conversion to a United States like system drastically effect the way people think?

The 3000 Year Old Reigning Champ: Good Storytelling

The authors in the first writing did a very good job in my opinion of giving an overview about the elements of visual data and what people tend to see focus on when looking at data presented visually. I think they gave lots of information that would be helpful in creating a data visualization graphics, because they went into specific detail on the category of different areas and types of elements, like visual highlighting and detail-on-demand. Me being a sports fan, I immediately focused on the graphic detailing Barry Bonds and his path on the journey to beating Hank Aaron’s career home run mark of 755. I think the point that data can create a narrative here is very prevalent. Anyone who knows what steroids and baseball have to do with each other can immediately put together that the sudden rise in pace of homer runs for Bonds 14 years into his career, at the same time that he was implicated for steroid use, is not some happenstance coincidence, and that the two pieces of information are linked in a very plausible outcome. I think it is interesting to see that, like the authors state, data can create a narrative that goes beyond what you see on paper.

I really enjoyed the video we watched for part two of the “reading.” I thought it was great in terms of its design and I really did enjoy watching it. I think what it did well was creating a tone that really made me as a viewer want to pay attention to what the narrator had to say. The video also practiced what it preached. Its main point in the end was that stories are much more powerful than words, and the video uses that exact philosophy when it comes to the content of the video. The 30 second or so long story about the man with three months to live really helped capture me as a viewers attention, and I think that really helped prove the video’s point in the end when it brings up how attention capturing stories are, especially good ones. The whole video, down to the great animation and sound effects, was very well done in my opinion and I think it did a great job in getting it’s point across.

Are there ways to present data that can make them as emotionally impact full as a good story, or does a good story always beat out even the best of presented data?

This info-graphic tells a narrative just with data, especially when it comes to the setting and feeling people use to decide what music to listen to.

Welcome to the 21st (19th) century

Tufte does his best in this reading to recapture our attention after his first reading may or not have failed to do so. He accomplishes this task for me at least, because of his captivation of real life examples that were good stories of how statistics are not only recorded, but actually used in real life application. The first story Tufte tells about his John Snow and his part in saving many people from death by cholera in 19th century England. Tufte explains how Snow noticed that people in certain areas were being affected by the disease,  while others in different areas were not on the same level in cholera infection. Snow began looking for causes, and eventually figures out that the water from certain water pumps are the culprit. By mapping out the info visually, he was able to determine the pumps causing the problem, and was able to greatly reduce the cholera spread. Tufte then explained the Challenger shuttle and its reasons for exploding in 1986. At first, I didn’t see how visual data was going to connect with what Tufte was saying, but the charts at the end of the story were very effective in their telling of how temperature really does effect the parts of a space shuttle.

When Tufte gave examples of people using data in ways that were different than they had been previously used, I thought of the recent analytic trend in sports when it comes to statistics, and how stats that used to be used in the past are now competing with new ways to show and compare data. One of the most glaring examples of this is in the sport of baseball. It used to be that tangible stats, that is, stats that you could see the quantitative making of, like Home runs, Runs batted in, Stolen bases, strike outs, and errors. These stats have been a part of baseball since its birth. But like in Tufte’s stories, a new way to show data was created and is now being used side by side with the traditional stats. Stats like WAR (Wins above replacement) which calculates a given player’s value in terms of team wins, over the average major league player. Or BABIP (Batting Average on balls In Play) which takes a players batting average only on At bats where the ball was put into play. New age saber metric stats like these are revolutionizing sports, and turning the days of going with your gut on a player, instead of looking at his advanced metrics, into an old man’s practice.

An example of the kinds of stats being used in today’s MLB

Is the visualization of data something that can turn data into a cross language platform? Or can it create a bigger language barrier by using too many insular cultural references that are not communicable across languages and cultures?

Infographics with Empathy

The first of the readings that I read was “what if the Data Visualization is actually people?” First off I feel like the title is worded a little off. It doesn’t really make sense to me even after reading the article, but I guess i’m not writing this journal entry about the title. The actual content in this article has some real points to it I believe. From the start, the author brings up a good example of how people visualize data. Right away I understood what she was trying to convey. She then went on to talk about how people take data and try to make it visual, to make it easier to understand. While I was reading this I had a thought that came to mind, and the author very quickly addressed that exact thought, which was that data is also created by people, its not something created by nature or time and space. people create data, and there is a human element to it, even if it is hard to find in some cases.

The second article seemed to be mostly about how infographics try to connect with people on a more emotional level. The author explained how people making infographics try to appeal to people on a empathy based level as well as using the strategy of putting people first. This article didn’t appeal to me as much as the first because it did.t have as many things in it that seemed like new ideas, or things I hadn’t thought about.

The third article seems to draw on many similar points comparative to the second article, but instead of just explaining what people who make infographics try to do to get people invested, it shows direct examples and explains exactly how people use things like empathy in the infographics.

Something that the first article made me think of is how people will sometimes take something human, and because of a filter or mask added to it, turn it into something non-human in their minds, therefore making it more mysterious or scary. It made me think of how people wearing masks can be thought of as being almost unhuman, like the whole clown scaring phenomenon going on right now. The  fact that someone is wearing a mask makes people forget that it’s just a regular person under there, and that if they did’t have the mask they wouldn’t be anything to be afraid of. I guess it draws on the old idea that people are afraid of what they don’t understand or know.

The unknown, one of mankind’s greatest eternal fears. Data can be seen as unknown, but it’s a manmade concept that is very definable. 

How much of an infographic is reliant on people being emotionally affected by it? Can a bare bones infographic do the same job as a more thought out one in any circumstance?


Effective Animation

In this dense, both content wise and visually, reading, the author Tversky goes after animation and tries to put a value to it’s meaning and what it can be used for in a information based setting. The author at first, like many of the authors we have read so far, gives a history lesson on the use of animation as far back as ancient time when images were used as a almost primary use of written communication. Tversky then starts to talk about how animation is effectively used. With this, she compares the effectiveness of static and animated graphics and gives examples on the productivity of both. Tverksy then goes into great length at discussing why animation can so often fail and introduces something called the apprehension principle, which Tverksy states is “the structure and content of the external representation should be readily and accurately perceived and comprehended.” The author then goes into other reasons why animation may be hard to perceive, giving reasons like being non-interactable to the viewer, and the fact that they can be hard to perceive, due to the effect of the animation not adhering to the apprehension principle. Overall the denseness of the reading makes it a little hard to comprehend at times and tough to get through in a single go about, but the information in it is very intriguing and interesting.

When thinking about effective animation and what it can do, I instantly thought of animation I had seen that made me think or feel something. This made me think of all the great mature animated shows that are being run nowadays, shows like Bojack Horseman, Family Guy, and South Park. All three shows have different core themes to them, but all three themes create a significant emotional reaction in me, whether it be to laugh, criticize or think. While I understand the platform is different when it comes to animation that is aimed at being a source of information, I think the ability to draw form human emotion is something great animation can do, regardless of its intended audience or content. Great animation makes us think and feel, and hits us when we see and comprehend it. My point being, to create animation for information that gets people attention, emotional attachment is something that can turn animation from a 2D drawing into a real  person in someones life.

What can be done in things like infographics to make them more emotionally connectable, while also not creating too much of a barrier to entry for the first time viewer? How can emotion be connected on in such a short period of time?

Animation can be very effective, especially when it keys in on things people are familiar with. You’d be hard pressed to find a college student with no emotional attachment to a move like the lion king, and this iconic scene.