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Information Graphics

Infographics have been around for many years and recently, easy-to-use, free tools have made the creation of infographics available to a large segment of the population. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have also allowed for individual infographics to be spread among many people around the world.

In newspapers, infographics are commonly used to show the weather, maps, site plans, and graphs for statistical data. Some books are almost entirely made up of information graphics, such as David Macaulay’s (The Way Things Work). The Snapshots in (USA Today) are also an example of simple infographics used to convey news and current events.

Modern maps, especially route maps, use infographic techniques to integrate a variety of information, such as the conceptual layout of the transit network, transfer points, and local landmarks.

Graphical displays should:

  • show the data
  • Induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, and the technology of graphic production
  • avoid distorting what the data has to say
  • present many numbers in a small space
  • make large data sets coherent
  • encourage the user to compare different pieces of data
  • Reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure
  • Serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation or decoration
  • Be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set
  • Graphics reveal data. Indeed graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.

While contemporary infographics often deal with ‘qualitative’ or soft subjects. Tufte’s 1983 definition still speaks, in a broad sense, to what Infographics are and what they do which is to condense large amounts of information into a form where it will be more easily absorbed by the reader.

The three parts of all infographics are the visual, the content and the knowledge. The visual consists of colors and graphics. with two different types of graphics , theme and reference. Theme graphics are included in all infographics and represent the underlying visual representation of the data. Reference graphics are generally icons that can be used to point to certain data, although they are not always found in infographics. Statistics and facts usually serve as the content for infographics, and can be obtained from any number of sources, including consensus data and news reports. One of the most important aspects of infographics is that they contain some sort of insight into the data that they are presenting; this is the knowledge.

Infographics are effective because of their visual element. Humans receive input from all five of their senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste), but they receive significantly more information from vision than any of the other four .Fifty percent of the human brain is dedicated to visual functions, and images are processed faster than text.

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