• Qinyu Ding

The Functional Art - Interview with Hans Rosling

Updated: May 7, 2019

In the interview, Hans Rosling starts with talking about different kinds of data. The first type of data are raw data - specific numbers for specific things that readers can find them via google, which barely reveal anything. The second type of data are those who can help people to find a pattern and to make a decision. This type of data are not always accurate since it is hard to make this type of data while take into every possible factors into consideration. That is to say, the way to filter and translate data is much more important than data itself since the point of transforming and visualizing data is to reveal a fact out of it. He stressed only when the statistician, the engineer and the designer work together, data scattered in every piece of information can be put together and presented in a fun and informative way which help people to better understand the world we are living in.

I can not agree more with what Hans Rosling's statement since I am the kind of person who do not like being exposed to numerous of numbers and trying so hard to find something from it (even if I come from computer science). And it is even harder for readers who do not have statistics skills or specialty knowledge in a given field to understand a story that they are not familiar with. The example that pops in my mind is this graphic, again (I have been obsessed with this graphic these days ) About the climate change's effect on melting glacier, I have seen a lot of infographics. Like these two:

I had felt sorry about it but not grief or shocked until I saw this:

I see the melting ice are flowing away. I see the decreasing area of white that cover the earth. There are not many numbers presented in this graphic but every flowing runoff is expressing many data in the most intuitive and emotional way. This actually inspired my way to present data for my project2 where I used cracks and shapes edited by spattered effect to show the hurt that the youth with trauma in their childhood is feeling. I think that is what Hans Rosling was talking about "By means of a better use of the current availability of data, it is possible to create a better world."

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