Anne, Anne, your rhetorical and visual analysis is top notch. Although long, I found her refreshing and easily readable. Maybe it is that I am far more interested in the way she thinks than some others… Tufte.
Wysocki is analytical but still creative taking the ad that she first discusses and taking it through William’s core values. This is what she uses, not as a model, or a way to analyze but as recognition that advertisements and visual effects are organizations. It’s a simplistic answer to sum up all visuals this way, but it’s supposed to be a generalization. She negates Wiilliam’s principle because they are not universal. I honestly go lost when she started talking about Kant. What I am getting from Wysocki is that she doesn’t want people to think of visuals as a formula. She brings this up in her Kant section as a means of exploring other forms of beauty and visuals. BUT then she goes off and makes it analytical. I’m just getting a lot of whiplash from Anne. She’s sort of like the scene in dead poet’s society when they talk about what makes good poetry. There’s a scale, but then they disregard it. I feel like that’s what Wysocki needs to do. Beauty can be analyzed- yes. Good design contains principles- yes. But, that doesn’t mean that we should negate design that doesn’t follow the rules. At least I hope that’s what she’s going for.
Here’s the problem that I have with Wysocki. She briefly notes that motion is better understood when it could happen personally. When it comes down to it, design, color, the priniciples vary from culture to culture. Some are biologically recognized- humans like patterns and organizations, but not all. She says as much towards the end of her analysis. However, we all experience motion the same way. We know that gravity is going to affect a duck the same way that a boat does. Motion is limited in such a way that we are forced to recognize it in design. I believe that the works of Jackson Pollock demonstrate both Wysocki and my point. The art of Pollock could be recognized as beauty despite negating the design principles at place. However, the movement of the piece is what is most striking. It moves constantly despite not being animated.
How do we resolve design and the abstract? Should we even try? Will the evolution of animated graphics become abstract? Should it?
I think it’s interesting how Jenkins brings up YouTube’s community as a culture, but as (I wanna say he) as they continue I can see the way the culture of Youtube has formed a media crux, if you will. Social media’s connection to the “real world” could be attributed to Youtube. It combines real world experiences with the digital one. Occasionally live, variants of social media borrow from Youtube. Facebook uses Youtube for video clips, Buzzfeed uses Youtube to crate content. It’s an umbrella for all the little websites that hide underneath it. The most interesting information coming from Jenkins that he acknowledges that Youtube is both production and consumption with a bit of commercial activity mixed in. The problem here being the control of the production is confusing. As Youtube has progressed, advertisements and commercial media presence has grown to be such a focal point of social media. Advertisements permeate videos, and networks possess their own channels. Media influence expands to include politics, making rhetorical videos omnipresent. Jenkins turns this around to reflect the common viewer. If the common viewer can produce their own videos- what prevents them from being rhetorical. Nothing. Jenkins uses parody as an example citing official sources of SNL, but also including the viewer.
I love Jenkins point about parody. Parody is so rhetorical, but in such a way that one really doesn’t realize it if the parody is done well. It points out moments that ordinarily would be negated. In the case of SNL, the political sketches found at the top of most episodes during election season uses the rhetoric of the politics to reinforce their own agenda, their own rhetoric. It’s an interesting element to consider that the very rhetoric that politic uses- ethos, pathos, logos- can be manipulated in such a way that the message is reversed. Even more interesting is that the parody of the political message can be manipulated again by the very political rhetoric that the person is using. Combine this with the popularity and instant production of Youtube and suddenly supporters are using this parody to produce their own sketch or even to parody it itself. When does rhetoric evolve from parody to this new production value? Can rhetoric ascend to that dimension outside of parody? What is that even called?
Ding uses her analysis of the SARS epidemic to showcases negative aspects of rhetoric in regards to an effective, but malicious information spread. She says that two points have brought this into play: proclamation and personal narrative. Proclamation relating to the way others are likely to pick up on an intentionally inflammatory comment and run with it. Here, what Ding is really drawing attention to has nothing to do with rhetoric- but more to do with the way the information is delivered. She states that the way information is delivered is what changes the meaning. Journalists, media, publications are more likely to use attention grabbing- pathos inducing headlines and in that sense, logos suffers. The ethos is also called into question considering whether or not the information is valid. Validity doesn’t just mean the data behind the information but whether or not something should be included at all. Proclamation fits wholly into this idea because the data is there, but the reasoning behind including it is mostly for shock value. The same goes for personal narrative. Though we have observed previously that personal narrative has the power to be both memorable and effectively communicate data. However, the situational element of personal narrative can cause increased fear and attention. Combine this with unimportant issues, and you potentially have to worry about fear.
I understand Ding. The way she explains the reasoning behind the SARS epidemic makes absolute sense in regards to how epidemics are handled by the media. An epidemic status that may cause increased panic. Media sources are drawn to this and I honestly can’t understand why American media in particular is sensationalist, forgetful, and crass with their data. It one of those things where isolating exacerbates the problem, if not creates it. Take the Zika epidemic, zika was commonly referred to as a state of emergency in the US. However, the epidemic should have been referred to as such, not inspiring inevitable fear and certainly not embracing it. However, it is obvious from the photo below that this was not the case. It was treated in such a way that fear was a primary motivator. Situations like this establish a need to represent epidemics professionally. When does shock and awe overtake data? When is inspiring fear a question of taste instead of validity?
Data narratives scare me. There. I said it. I have no clue how they work, and that’s the question I got from Segel and Heer. They went through their case studies looking for the way each effectively worked and the general consensus was that each study had to work with the data and the story behind the data. The narrative doesn’t exist separately from the narrative because the data works because of the story behind it. Effective storytelling considers the context that the story lives in and uses that to its advantage. The problem is that discovering what is most effective is entirely dependent on the audience and how they visualize the story. There’s a few points that one can use to hedge the bet. Following good design principles, using negative space, making the data readable and labelling it correctly. These are points that scientifically improve comprehension as Aaker mentions in her video. The point being that narrative is both produced by data visualizations, but also exists outside of the story that is produced.
In regards to our previous readings regarding visualizations, narrative storytelling falls into the realm of rhetoric, but an all-encompassing rhetoric. Rhetoric uses pathos, logos, ethics to create an argument and if we are to believe that the data visualization is an argument, then why not rhetoric? Here’s the problem that I have with this own purported theory- it doesn’t address the audience. Data storytelling has to address every audience. Take the graphic below. It shows story arcs. It looks as if anyone could understand what the author is saying, but I am an English major, I am accustomed to story arcs and visuals. I don’t know if an audience could understand what the data is telling them with such varied examples, but this is solved by the brief explanation. This graphic takes the reader into account, the audience being all people that have read stories.
However, how much explanation is too much? How can narrative cloud the data? Here, the data is lost a bit, but comprehension is improved. Which is more important?
Why does Tufte suck? Okay, that was slightly unprofessional, but it would not kill the guy to pick a few subjects unrelated to sadness and destruction (Cholera? Challenger? Are you kidding me?). Good that he mentions descriptive narration, but at the same time, that is close to what our videos will tackle. In typical Tufte fashion, he doesn’t actually talk about his topic. He talks about other people talking about his topic. Even worse he tries to disprove it. I honestly have trouble with how his explanations are subdivided. He talks about “Assessment of possible errors in the numbers reported in graphics” and then spends the next four-five pages talking about errors. It doesn’t read like an explanation, but more of a complaint. I think his point here was to talk about data errors and the effect they have on the visual representation, but his point is shrouded. I cannot understand him. He goes on to evaluate visual representations of the Challenger, this time in more of his own voice and as far as I can establish, Tufte gets weighed down in the explanation of the data representation- not the actually way it looks, but just how it works. In this way, I can see that Tufte might be making a broader point in his reading of data visualizations- that data visualizations are only useful for those that understand them.
In my understanding of Tufte, I thought of this diagram. I have not clue how to read it. I don’t have any field or working knowledge of O-rings or their uses in flight. However, I am able to discern that each data point is visualized in a semi accurate format. That the diagram shows erosion, temperature, and placement. And yet, Tufte and I would have the same assessment. The data doesn’t reach it’s real potential because though I can compare the data against one point to the next. I have no clue how too display this information so that the full picture is realized. Basically, the data isn’t visualized- it’s displayed. Here is what I think Tufte was attempting to get out but could not reach. In failing to actually assess data- he made a broader point about how we see data and what the intended audience is.
What does data visualization mean if you cannot read it? Should all data visualizations be used as comparisons to their wholes or is it a whole other matter entirely?
I’m liking where all these sources are going with data visualizations. Yes, they are all different, slightly. They converge on one point. Data visualizations have a place and they need to be used properly. The main connection between data visualizations being that they cannot be emotional. They are almost the antithesis of emotion according to one of the articles. Another, asserts that data itself can better be expressed in a different visual medium. The emotive element of the data was lost when graphically translated- in that case. However, the last article I read about connecting the dots, states that the data visualization graphic used was emotive. It provided a comprehensive and almost stoic look at a morose topic. The area it appeared in, the timing, the subject matter all had an effect on how well the data was received and understood. Looking at all three of the articles, one can see that they focus on how to create empathy. This is a distinction that I will discuss later. The point being that data visualizations differ and the understanding of these graphics are directly related to the human experience.
The wee people above display what one author notes as a prevention to empathy. Now, I’m not going to get into how the graphics themselves work, but I will discuss how the basic drawing is empathetic in nature. It copies the human form. It looks human. Wee men do human things. That’s the point. If we, as humans, are able to project human feelings onto animals, onto inanimate objects- it isn’t so difficult to see this with human like figures, particularly when discussing a highly controversial topic. Wee men have their place. They may not inspire the highest level of empathy, but to consider them completely lacking is an oversight. I promote that wee men do have unspoken attachment and empathy in their visualizations.
What does empathetic data visualizations promote? Do they have a higher bonding of data understanding? Are they distracting? Can we consider their affect in print vs. animation?
Tversky is dense and I’m not about it. However, I understand where she’s coming from and I like that she explains her reasoning behind why animation is difficult. Her section on the Apprehension Principle. The Apprehension Principle being that the animation needs to be conveyed completely. What I’m getting from “conveyed completely” is that the animation should be able to subsist on its own. It needs to be simple, without being obvious, and allow the audience to interact with it. However, Tversky, explains that the Apprehension Principle was dealing with multiple complex systems in this case and that may be why the animations failed in this case. Tversky is even more dense when she gets into explaining that animations fail despite success with both the principles of Congruence and Apprehension. Animations fail for different reasons that are not always obvious. She also states that animations are not able to keep up with discrete changes in learning.
I’m confused by Tversky. She doesn’t like animation, but then she says that animations are okay, but then she states that it could be okay if you can interact with it. I’m lost. I think animations are effective pieces of learning, because the human eye is drawn to movement. It’s a biological fact that our eyes are drawn to movement of any kind. We will focus more. However, I get what Tversky is saying when she talks about keeping it simple. Animations get repetitive after a while and information would not be as easily absorbed. Hence, I understand how she feels about learning from animations, but it is a subjective topic that I feel can’t be limited. Static images can only take instruction so far, but showing it- that is understandable. Below I have included an image that appears to animate itself despite being static. It is a way to explain my previous point of motion and the eye.
What is the difference between animation and motion? Why doesn’t Tversky make a distinction? What forms of animation should be considered useless?