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The Functional Art - Ch 5 & 6

Chapter 5 and 6 talks about how human vision and brain perception work and how to use these to inform graphic design. Our vision is a complicated mechanism. It aggregates and prioritized information gathered from multiple fixation to understand the external world. Fixation and saccades are two characters of vision and are impacted by the presence of objects we see such as movement, color and shapes. Things that an audience can relate to his or her own emotion or experience tend to attract an individual's eyes. What we think we have seen is always not what is actually presented to us. Thus, thought and pattern principles that our brain follows can also be applied in graphic design. These principles include proximity, similarity, continuity, connectedness, and closure. There are 10 elementary perceptual tasks involved in a graphical form that can be used to lead to either more accurate judgment or more generic judgment based on the goal of a chart.

I saw these two graphics this week which are really good examples of the difference between high accurate judgments perceptual task and more judgement. In the first one uses color saturation to show the heat absorbed by the ocean. It provide a general view of which part absorbed the most heat and which part did the least. While the second one uses lines to show ice collapsing into the sea. The use of lines shows much more geographic details than the former one. More details provide more context and lead to more exploration. Thus, if the goal of a graphic is to give an overview on the whole topic, I think the former would work a bit better than the latter. But the graphic used in the intro part still could add some labels or highlight a bit more detailed information to provide a richer context to the topic - allow more exploration.

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