I'm into info. I want it accurate, relevant and clear.On the radio, we try to paint clear, understandable, and journalistically-sound images of the mind -- the vivid mental pictures you see while listening to good storytelling.Actual images can tell rich stories, too. The best photojournalism certainly does. Some pictures hit you in the chest.But images drawn from data -- infographics, or visualizations -- rarely tell a story so well.And they almost never hit me in the chest.Why not? With all of the technology available, why can't we create really good visualizations that project understanding, timeliness, utility and ... dare I say ... stories?I'm on the lookout. And I'm defining what I want to see.For that definition, I've made a checklist based on one of my all-time favorite books, Made to Stick, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath (Random House, 2007). The initial words come from their Six Principles of Sticky Ideas; the rest is my application of their concepts.For me, the best information images are ...
Simple: Non-geeks can absorb it within a few secondsAnd I'll add one more:
Unexpected: It fills a gap in our knowledge
Concrete: It takes advantage of our senses and understandings
Credible: It is journalistically sound, from a trusted source, without bias
Emotional: It hits you in the chest, you feel the data
Story: It tells one
Relevant: It is timely, current and usefulGot examples that ring all seven bells? Maybe even four? Share them in the comments here or email me: john (at) designAgitator.com.-----The map detail above is from my favorite example at the moment, which is on Slate. Jump over there, take a look, and then run it through the checklist:
Simple? Once you know that blue is jobs gained and red is jobs lost, you're set. Just press play.Rings my bell.
Unexpected? Seriously so. The speed of change is amazing.
Concrete? The familiar map orients me at a glance; I respond quickly to the circle sizes, colors and densities.
Credible? Bureau of Labor Statistics, Slate.
Emotional? Oh yeah. I saw someone actually shiver while watching it.