Author: ghosh28

Wysocki the Wascally Webel

I don’t know exactly what but somehow I am reminded of Tufte’s tone of sour criticism when I read Wysocki’s work. Basically, Wysocki feels that our current approaches are incomplete and “assume a separation of form from content, emphasizing form to the point of the content’s disembodiment” (Wysocki, pg.3”) It’s amazing to read 27 pages about form and beauty, including complaints about a simple magazine ad and how abstract William’s CRAP principles are. But what got me thinking (and one of the few things I got out of Wysoki) was something from a telling of two other authors, Arnheim and Bang, that Form comes from one’s egocentric experiences and one takes pleasure in seeing those experiences comfortably inscribed in other objects.(Wysocki, pg 11).

Wysocki seems to compare Arnheim and Bangs approach to William’s crap principles by noting that Willaim’s approach is more neutral. Arnheim and Bang allows for equal emphasis and a sharper sense, whether affected by genders or not. Willaims and other approaches to visual composition are basically seen by Wysocki as a dehumanizing way of tying form and design to place, time, messiness and complexity. (Wysocki, pg. 23) in order to divert this, Wyscoki believes we should move towards more social and temporal expectations and rebel against the current accepted principles. They way, we can push out our boundaries further and try new things, because form is universal. At least, that’s what I got out of it.

I am currently enrolled in AD 105, which deals with a lot of using William’s CRAP principles. And I have to admit, there isn’t a lot of free thinking about design done in that class, at least without confinement. Going back to Arnheim and bang’s telling of form, I am much more inspired by shapes that relate to my own experiences that shapes stamped down in order to comply to design principles.


The girl ad above can be seen demonstrates Arnheim-bangs idea of form. Due to experiences with moms and other females from point of birth, I am immediately drawn to the girl’s face, before gravity draws me down the rest of her body. The ad also shares some CRAP principles, but this idea of form seems to offer a little more explanation for accessing the ad’s information.


I found two girl ads on my own to briefly share. (seems to be relevant to Wysocki’s views, due to the peek ad in the article and the fact that Wysocki’s a girl). My question for you guys would be to compare the two ads. What design strategy’s do they use, and which ones do you think apply more to Arnheim-Bang/Williams? Which rhetorical cases do you think each would work best in?


Snowmen in politics. Wacky, I know.

All I can say about this article, was that it was a really big somewhat rhetorical analysis of the video posted above.  While I am a little cringed from seeing so much said about a simple, poorly made video, it’s still amazing to see Jenkins apply the video as an example of new versus old media and parody in politics. It’s also a week before Election, and here we have Jenkins talking about YouTube as a source of civic discourse, and how “convergence, collective intelligence, and participatory culture are impacting the political process” in his thesis. (Jenkins, pg. 2) That’s some powerful Kairos right there. Jenkins is also effective in producing multiple examples of internet parodies, such as a republican/democrats commercial like a mac/PC, or even a Madtv sketched of democratic campaigns going at it against each other. Over, his style had a sort of storytelling element to it, which made the whole thing easier to read.


One thing that was brought up in the article was a brief discussion about YouTube. YouTube is brought up as an example of how new media is increasing distribution of grassroots communication, allowing for new amateur expressive activities in things like political debates. It also allows for media exposure through mass content or amateur productions, as well as connecting with other social network sites.  Though the example of the 2008 snowman video, Candidates were seen to have differing views on this new media, such as not liking it due to lack of control and the video’s immaturity, or as a thriving alternative to traditional media. It was suggested in the article that greater participation could generate greater public interest in debates.


It is challenging, however to distinguish videos meant for fun, and videos meant for serious political change.

For example;



We can assume the video’s purpose is for parodying the current candidate’s position and rap culture, but is it at a point where is can be consider a downfall of digital democracy? Now consider a more “Professional” parody like SNL;



What arguments can be made about which video is better suited for politics. Are these even good examples? Whichever way you go, just keep in mind that, like stated in the article, we are surrounded by changing practices and ethics.  Whether it’s for knowledge, culture, or politics, we need to be attentive to the dimensions and ask hard questions about what is going on. (Jenkins, pg.25).

Guerilla media, the right Ding to do.

I enjoyed reading Ding’s articles, because of the interesting information and its relevance to current events, as well as the suggested storytelling structure Ding applies to the reading. It also raised a very good question that if the public’s health is threatened, should we/professional communicators try to warn of the risk or be quite and listen to superiors for personal safety.


So apparently, the Article talked about unofficial risk communication in china, in which the Chinese used alternative media to spread news of the SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) Outbreak, opposed to censorship and silence by the Chinese government. At the time, because of heavy surveillance of mainstream news, use of tactical technical documentation, or Guerilla media as defined in the article, was vital in spreading unauthorized information and dissenting political views.  According to a couple of narratives from the article, warning cell-phone messages sent by journalists, medical workers, and police were examples of guerrilla distribution within interpersonal networks. Because they were directly exposed to the news, the Whistleblowers were regulated from mainstream media like TV and internet, but also because they had credibility, messages through cell-phones and text messages were fueled by the panic context and were successfully able to spread. In the article, it said that 80% of Guangzhou residents learned about SARS from unofficial channels such as mobile text messages and alternative, little regulated websites on the Internet. (Ding, pg. 15). A case study of Dr. Jiang was also brought up, discussing how he used to ethos to denounce Government-censored Beijing reports and used intercultural media to spread the news.  Rhetoric of proclamation was also briefly talked about, but was a different tactic from. initiating in Chinese social circles and spreading fearful rumors such as food shortage, massive outbreak, and risk of disease by face-to-face meetings or riding the same bus. Despite its low credibility, this use of guerilla media was effective in spreading public recognition of the risk.


I couldn’t help but think of past examples like Snowden, Assange and Manning when reading this article. Despite them using mainstream sources to spread their risk-filled info, I can’t help but wonder how much alternative media had a role in their cause.

To answer dixuan08’s question, I’ve measured the odds and evens and made the decision to say yes, I do agree with Julian Assange’s work. I may get locked up for saying it, but I also believe there should be strong Guerilla media use in America, as well as a stronger public-lead regulation against government media, possible even government action in general.

Blog on Segel and Heer

As recommended by Liddle’s annotation, I focused more on the Case studies portions in the Segel and Heer articles. The case study that I would like to analyze is the Gap minder Human Development Trends in 2005. In the study, Human development trends utilize a slide-show interactivity mechanism, as well as implementing annotations and even animated transitions between different types of graphs to avoid audience confusion. Comparing this study with other ones, Human Development and Barry bond’s steroids on bust  share the connecting with matching content and annotation/highlighting use, while  Human developments use of a presentation timeline and interactivity coincide with one elements used in the Afghanistan case study. To summarize, the way Details on demand is interpreted by the audience demands on the type of data, especially its genre. In order to work between author-driven presentation and reader driven presentation, there is some sort of structure layout to assist and share data like the ways presented by Segel and heers case studies. These structures can be varied, but has to include some elements such as visual narrative devices and narrative devices in general.  Visual narration consist of Visual Structuring, Highlighting, and Transitional Guidance, while Narrative structure includes Ordering, Interactivity, and messaging.


The graphic above is on I found very similar to the case studies in the article. It starts off with an annotation from the top, offering a thesis-like statement before running through a highlighted and ordered set of same hued blue and orange charts.  It is almost like chapters in a story, with a short annotations to help understand the data. The graphic makes these narrative links between the data in order to deliver a message in the final “chapter”. This layout offers a way of transitional guiding the reader, as well as pinpointing crucial parts with visual devices and driving the readers towards the intended author driven conclusion.


According to the video we also had to watch, Stories are meaningful because they are memorable, impactful, and personal. One part of the video that I remembered was the student study, in which only one tenths of students used a story in their pitch, but then 63% remembered stories better than statistics. The video also suggests how logic reasoning is initiated by emotions, a sense of feeling in the understanding process. To answer dixuan08’s question, there could be a third way of telling something outside of storytelling and statistics, (for example, facts, images) but it heavily depends on whether new ways are located far enough to avoid defining them as ways of storytelling or statistical presentation. For example, you could use no graphics whatsoever and use non-fictional facts, or even a wordless comic strip, but would that be like telling a story? Isn’t even real life events like a big story?

To get to the point, there is probably a third way, but right now, I’m not expert enough to identify it yet.



Tufte’s Toughness on Visualization

Tufte this time was tough, but not so tough. The reading was still a load to drag through, but at least the word choice and overall message was smoother to get down, which was that there are right and wrong ways of displaying data. Not only that, these ways could lead to different real life consequences, depending on how the data is interpreted from the graphics. To explain this, tufte compared two data situations from world history; John Snow’s stopping of a cholera epidemic in 1894, and the 1986 space shuttle challenger explosion. In order to do this, tufte laid down four situations for good visualization; placing data in an appropriate context for assessing cause and effect, make quantitative comparisons, consider alternative explanations as well as contrary cases, and assess errors in the way graphics report numbers.

Snow’s investigation in the 1894 cholera outbreak eventually led to a construction of a graphical display, a map which showed the locations of the dead, thus creating a link between the deaths and a contaminated water well.  There are some issues with Snow’s data display, such as Snow used a dot map and should have been listing a death rate as well.  Snow also compared other pieces of information and studied alternative explanations in order to remove any errors and avoid misunderstandings. Despite Snow’s flaws, his work was effective enough to make the cause and effect connection that made his study successful, at least more than tufte’s other example, the challenger explosion.

According to Tufte, there was a clear proximate cause to the accident; the inability to assess the link (cause and effect) between cool temperatures and the damage done to 0 rings on earlier shuttle flights.  (Tufte, pg 16.) Despite engineers preparing 13 charts to show this connection, the charts had issues, like lack of authorship, lack of temperature cause data, breaking up data into stupefying fragments, thin display, and lack of clarity, chart junk and bad order of data displayed. Either way, these charts failed to reveal the risk of the effect temperature had on O rings, the administrators went ahead with the launch, and the challenger blew up.

From what I took from the article, statistical data should be shown on a level that holds to credible commitment, that comparisons and connections should hold true to the data and be presented effectively, if that is the graphic’s purpose. The same can be said for numbers in data as well.

Consider how these two graphs differ below.graph_for_hait_tem4


Both of are different types, but I found the top graph to be better and faster at conveying the cause and effect relationship between melting rate and content, than the bottom graph. But is it just me? what do you think, when you see each graph at the same time?How do you guys think each graph is applying itself the the context of the data and numbers it is supposed to show?

3 articles on lots of numbers or a single face.

Data Visualization. It’s something I have thought a lot about in this class, breaking it into little pieces, tinkering and studying how it works and how to make it work better in whatever way I want it to work. Reading 3 articles about it has given me even more to tear up and study its internal mechanisms.

The articles were laid out in an anecdotal layout, a lubricating applicant to my reading style, because i always felt more incetive to go on reading a story then some statistical report. I felt that Slobin’s “WHAT IF THE DATA VISUALIZATION IS ACTUALLY PEOPLE?” was most effective at introducing the concept of empathic design in data visualization. This poor journalist, churning her wheels to come up with a way to data visualize fatally ill children, when at the end, she realized the best way to visualize the severity index was through the photos of the children themselves.

Jacob Harris’ blog on “Connecting the dots” offers some more discussion done of empathic design, where Data relating to examples like civilians killed in Baghdad or other empathy related situation should be represented in different ways to make the reader feel better. However as he quotes “once you get above a certain threshold of data points, or you want to make it easier to visually compare two amounts over time” and “in any circumstance where a single depicted person does not equal a single actual person”, then it would be more reasonable to use data visualizations like dots. (Harris, 2015).

Zer-Aviv’s “DataViz—The UnEmpathetic Art” talks about data and empathy like the others, yet also includes a quote by Alberto Cairo argued “…By hiding faces, we reduce empathy, which might be actually good, as it lets us approach issues in a more dispassionate and neutral manner”. What this means is that less empathic data visualizations like charts and dots, can be better for use, because it lets us be more neutral and more moral.

So should data be humanized? I may be a little ignorant here, but using examples of more empathic visualizations seem kind of propaganda to me. If you want to promote a certain emotion in your data, whether it is the right thing to do or not, Emphatic visualizations seem to be a shining answer. If you want to be more professional toned and true to the facts, dots and bars can work. But what I want to know, is that as an extremely neutral person, Can we do both?



“Iraq’s Bloody Toll.” Wow.After reading the title, the hue and shape reverse bar graph makes connections to look like dripping bloodstains. Tying in the data presentations purpose and the kind of data presented, It’s possible to get creative and emphatic with even the most basic kinds of data visualization.

Are you guys the kind of person that thinks numbers and emphatic imaging work good together, or should they be their own separate thing? How do you think these kinds of data visualization should be combined?

Tversky, what did I just read?

Barbara Tversky can be placed in the categories of authors that I find more challenging than usual to understand. Normally when I mean challenging I refer to the author’s writing style, but in this case, it’s the author’s ideas as well.  She just makes these smudgy assumptions that animation isn’t beneficial at its current level to compete with static graphics, and gives us proof that goes against her thesis statement. As a fan of animated gifs and infographics, this essay is a rock, no a boulder, for me to swallow.

The essay starts off with saying how from ancient times, Graphics have been used to depict in tangible and intangible instances, like for molecules and organizational systems, respectively. It is their nature, but in every case, their effectiveness is not the same. The piece then focuses on a recent evolution of graphics, which is Animation, and it’s apparent failure to benefit. To do this, Tversky displays selective research of “which focuses on uses of animation to teach complex systems, mechanical, biological, physical, operational, computational.” (Tversky, pg 3)one example that I recall from reading Tversky was a research piece by Thompson and Riding about comparing how subjects viewing a continuous animation of Pythagoras’s theorem outperformed subjects viewing a static graphic, but then acknowledging that the animation isn’t superior to the static graphic, because it isn’t equal to the information shown on paper. Not only is the conclusion not very enforced, but I am a bit doubtful of the studies in general, since they seem potential for a ton of lurking variables. I see that the animation had all the low level actions, but isn’t something a bit more superior if it’s more helpful in whatever task it is supposed to do? According to Tversky, animations fail because of the Apprehension Principle, that animation basically isn’t doing a good job of making things “readily and accurately perceived and comprehended”, and she has a four page reference list to prove it. (Tversky, pg 3)


We discussed comparing animated infographics in one of our past class activities. And one of the more vivid examples I remember was that of an engine. So for example consider the two examples below are similar to each other, but one is still animated while the other is still static.





Which one do you personally find more effective at understanding how an engine works? What arguments do you think Tverksy might make with this comparison? It seems complicated and mechanical enough. I may be using an extremely selective example here, but that is exactly what Tversky did in her paper.