• Qinyu Ding

The Functional Art - Ch 1&2

Chapter 1 and 2 of The Functional Art gives an overview introduction of how data visualization and infographic help audience's eyes and brain to perceive information around us along with how designers can achieve this goal. Living in a era of information explosion, it is not easy for people to find out, remember and understand related but scattered information, let alone to relate it to their own knowledge, experience and generate their own perspective out of it. And that's when infographic comes in to promote this process and lead to higher knowledge and even further, to an individual's wisdom. When starting an infographic work, one should always ask who the audiences are and what the goal of the chart is before diving into details. Thinking as a reader helps a designer to make decisions on how to express the information such as which shapes to be used to encode a set of data.

I see people's "Wow"or "A-ha" moment as a sign of me choosing the proper shape way to express information. Last Friday I had a lot of "Wow" moments and "A-ha" moments when I saw this graphic:

This graphic describes people's activities around 10pm. Line charts are really useful when it comes to the trend and directions. Here in this one, I think using multiple lines with the same thickness while the number of lines representing the number of people is better than using lines with different thickness while the width of lines representing the number of people as far as revealing the pattern of people's daily activities. Because as a reader, what I'm most curious about is that what most of people are doing around 10pm, and also how many people are doing something different around this time and what they are doing. By overlaying lines together, this graphic not only shows me the most common activities and the routines between Leisure, Eating & Drinking and Sleeping, it also shows me that a fair number of people are doing housework at this time and then go to sleep. It allows me to explore more about daily activities and routines. And how does this lead to my knowledge? Well, most of the time I am studying around 10 pm but according to this graphic, if I were an employee in a advertising department in Amazon, I would suggest we show more personal care-related ads to users around this time.

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