Thursday, August 20, 2009

Data Visualization of Complex Information

This is a tough idea for some creative types to get their heads around - it is our responsibility to teach all four areas of visualization in K-12 schools not just fine art. That means, whether we are personally interested or motivated, we are obliged to include visual communication, design and visual culture as well as fine art in K-12 curricula.

So here is the test - can we get past our own personal preferences to accept that data visualization is an interdisciplinary form of visual communication that may seem boring and "uncreative" but needs to be part of the knowledge and skill sets taught to all students in our classes?

Artists and designers are turning to data visualization to interpret the deluge of information around us and it goes beyond recognizing that tessellations sometimes make pretty pictures. At the intersection of visualization and mathematics, data visualization abstracts information to bring about a deeper understanding of the data. For artists and designers, data visualization is a new frontier of self-expression, powered by the proliferation of information and the evolution of available tools.

Data visualization is an interpretation, a different way to look at and think about data that often exposes complex patterns or correlations. Data visualization goes beyond pie charts, bar graphs and "infographics," which tend to be about objectivity and clarification. Rather than simply offering another version of the data—restating it visually and making it easier to digest -data visualization is a way to make sense of the ever-increasing stream of information with which we're bombarded.

Click on the heading above to see the complete article by Maria Popova in Business Week with links to a slide show.
Click on the images to see the detail in a larger size.

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