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The Functional Art - Ch8 & 9

Updated: May 7, 2019

Chapter 8 an 9 talk about how to create an information graphic in a static form or an interactive form. It's always about finding a whole story with data. Sometimes a story arises first and leads to search for data while in some cases the data intrigues a designer and drives he or she to start searching for the whole story. Then, trying to find more information to give a vivid life to the story by providing more context and depth. After that, choose the graphic form to encode the information based on the goal of the whole graphic. Typefaces and color are taken into consideration after that. Typefaces and color serve two purposes, one is to trigger emotional responses from readers to a graphic, another one is to create a sense of unity of all the components. When it comes to interactive information graphic design, Donald Norman's principles for product design can be applied to it including visibility of elements, providing proper feedback, constraints, keeping components and attributes in consistency to minimalize requirement of learning how to read a graphic. Interactive graphics offer special techniques such as instruction, conversation, manipulation and exploration which should be taken advantages by designers so that readers can have a better and unique understanding based on an individual's own experience and knowledge which would finally result in his or her wisdom.

While I was doing my project 2, I experienced both from story to data and from data to story. First of all, I started my research on the topic of adolescent sleep deprivation and social media. While doing the research, I found that the one of the main causes of sleep deprivation was adolescent mental health. So I changed my direction to adolescent mental health and found the report "2019 Mental Health in America" and at the last section I found some data from the result of an online screening survey for youth with trauma in the childhood and the effect of punitive school practice - zero tolerance practice. This topic intrigued me a lot. So I started looking for more data on this topic. But it was so hard to find any zero tolerance policies related data. I spent another two days and finally found one report talking about this policies but only to find that this report is talking about people's misunderstanding of the situation of zero tolerance. In that report, it said zero tolerance polices were not that prevalent in the U.S. any more and has been applied more adequate than before. That finding totally messed up my storyline. But at the end of the report, it mentioned that what was more serious than zero tolerance policies was the OSS (out-of-school suspension). So I dived in Internet again and finally found a report with rich data about 2016-2017 school year discipline report which made my project achieve the final version. What have I learned from this? Never stop asking "Do I have enough data/information to support my argument?" and "Does the story hold the values of timeliness and currency?". All data source needs to be consistent in time to reveal a true story.

My first version - without enough data to support the story

My second version - more detailed and solid data

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