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Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

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NEXT EVENT: December 5, 2016

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Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Thursday
Dec082016

Talking Infographics on The PolicyViz Podcast

This week, I was the guest on The PolicyViz Podcast hosted by Jon Schwabish! It was a great conversation about infographics, storytelling in charts, my design pet peeves, dataviz tools, my infographic design process and the past, present and future of infographics!

BONUS: Listen to the episode for directions to enter in the drawing for a signed copy of the Cool Infographics book!

Thursday
Dec012016

Thanksgiving Flight Patterns

Thanksgiving Flight Patterns is a cool animated, interactive data visualization from the NY Times TheUpshot that looks at where people traveled to for the Thanksgiving holiday last week. On the interactive version on the NY Times site, you can hover over any included city to see only those connections. There was a huge surge of people headed to Florida!

Thanksgiving is known as a time to return home to family, with the holiday calling to mind images of grandmother’s house. But for many Americans, it’s also now a chance to go on vacation.

This week, Florida will see a surge in the number of people arriving by plane. Las Vegas is another popular destination. Much more than is commonly realized, Thanksgiving is a time to seek out sun (and gambling), in addition to (or possibly instead of) catching up with loved ones.

These conclusions emerge from The Upshot’s analysis of search data from Google Flights. In all, more than 3.6 million Americans — or slightly more than 1 percent of the country’s population — are expected to take a flight for Thanksgiving.

I really like the design choice to change the colors at both ends of each line. It really helps to see the traffic departing a city in comparison to the traffic arriving. 

I think the animation of the dots moving along the flight paths in the interactive version was unnecessary.

Wednesday
Nov232016

Better Presentations by Jon Schwabish: Interview & Giveaway

Better Presentations by Jon Schwabish: Interview & Giveaway

Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks is a great new book by Jon Schwabish from the newly redesigned PolicyViz! I'm especially excited about the chapter all about data visualization in presentations!

This December, I am giving away one signed copy of Better Presentations! Register on the Giveaways Page by December 31st to be entered.

 Whether you are a university professor, researcher at a think tank, graduate student, or analyst at a private firm, chances are that at some point you have presented your work in front of an audience. Most of us approach this task by converting a written document into slides, but the result is often a text-heavy presentation saddled with bullet points, stock images, and graphs too complex for an audience to decipher―much less understand. Presenting is fundamentally different from writing, and with only a little more time, a little more effort, and a little more planning, you can communicate your work with force and clarity.

Designed for presenters of scholarly or data-intensive content, Better Presentations details essential strategies for developing clear, sophisticated, and visually captivating presentations. Following three core principles―visualize, unify, and focus―Better Presentations describes how to visualize data effectively, find and use images appropriately, choose sensible fonts and colors, edit text for powerful delivery, and restructure a written argument for maximum engagement and persuasion. With a range of clear examples for what to do (and what not to do), the practical package offered in Better Presentations shares the best techniques to display work and the best tactics for winning over audiences. It pushes presenters past the frustration and intimidation of the process to more effective, memorable, and persuasive presentations.

Everyone should follow Jon Schwabish on Twitter (@jschwabish) and check out all the great resources on PolicyViz!

 

Jon answered a bunch of questions I sent him about visualizing data and the new book:

Who is the book intended for?

Jon Schwabish: I wrote the book for people who deliver data-rich content—researchers, scholars, analysts—anyone who works with data and who needs to present it to an audience. In my experience, many people who work with data and conduct research simply take their written reports and convert them to presentations—they copy their graphs and tables and paste them into a slide, and turn their text into bullet points. But there is a better way and it starts with recognizing that a written report and a presentation are two fundamentally different forms of communication. The goal of this book is to help presenters all the way through the process: From presentation construction and design, to building the presentation, to ultimately delivering the presentation.

What makes presenting so different from writing?

Jon Schwabish: The differences between writing and presenting are clearest when you think carefully about the audience. When your reader sits down with your paper, she has the opportunity to read the notes and footnotes, decipher the labels on your charts, even perhaps work through your equations. When you present, however, your audience does not have that opportunity: They are bound to your pace and content. If you fill your slides with text and bullet points, equations, and complex, detailed graphs, your audience will strain to follow you and understand your message.

There are also (or at least there should be) similarities between the two—at least when it comes to your preparation. We are all taught in grade school to set out an outline when we write a book report. Yet, we rarely do this when it comes to presentations. In the book, I propose that presenters develop their presentation before they start making slides. I walk through this outlining process and provide a worksheet that readers can use to help them outline and develop their presentation.

What should readers expect to learn and apply to their own presentations?

Jon Schwabish: The book takes you through the entire process of planning, designing, and delivering your presentation by following three guiding principles:

  • Visualize your content. We are better able to grasp and retain information through pictures than through just words, so visualize your content when you can; this includes text, statistics, and numbers whenever possible.
  • Unify the elements of your presentation. This means consistency in your use of colors and fonts, format of your slides, and integrating what you say with what you show.
  • Focus your audience’s attention where you want it at all times. Instead of putting up as much information as possible on every slide, keep your slides simple and free of clutter so that you can direct your audience’s attention. Here, I demonstrate a technique I call Layering—presenting each piece of information on its own. Together, the points come back to the original, but are now presented in more effective way for the audience. 

These three guidelines are applied to different slide elements such as text, images, and data visualizations. in the latter sections of the book, I talk about tools and technologies to create and deliver presentations.

What are the key mistakes people make in their presentations?

Jon Schwabish: I think many people view their presentation as a simple translation of their written report to slides, but again, a presentation is a fundamentally different form of communication than a report. Presenters need to put their audience first—think about how difficult it’s going to be for them to absorb your content and buy into your message as you zip through bullet after bullet, slide after slide, dense table after table.

The other big mistake people make is to not practice their presentation before they deliver it. You can practice your 15-minute conference presentation four times in an hour, which is probably four more times than anyone else at the conference. And it will show! The more you practice—actually, rehearse is probably a better term—the more familiar you will be with your content, which will reduce the need for text- and bullet-point heavy presentation. Practicing moves you away from the natural inclination to include lots of text on your slides. 

 Why is visualizing data and information in a presentation so important?

Jon Schwabish: There is a long research history that demonstrates we are more likely to grasp and retain information through pictures than just through words (typically known as the “Picture Superiority Effect”). By visualizing information, you make it easier for your audience to grasp your content and remember it. Visualizing data may be even more important in a presentation because, again, your audience is bound to your pace and how you present your data through graph choice, color, and layout.

There is a long chapter in the book on how to create effective data visualizations for presentations. I walk through basic data visualization principles and outline ways to effective communicate those data in a presentation. I demonstrate ways you can apply the Layering technique to graphs, by showing one data series at a time. But you don’t need to just Layer data—if you’re showing a more complex graph (or perhaps a graph type that is new for your audience), for example, you can start by just showing and defining the axes, and then sequentially add your data. In this way, you have defined the graphic space for the audience so they are prepared for what comes next.

What are your thoughts on animated slide transitions and/or clicking to reveal different pieces of information on a slide? 

Jon Schwabish: I’m generally not a big fan of animated slide transitions, especially the good ol’ Blinds and Checkerboard in PowerPoint and other tools. They tend to look cheesy and immature. That being said, I have found some of the “morphing” animations—Magic Move in Keynote and Morph in the newest versions of PowerPoint—to be quite useful. Say, for example, you want to walk your audience through an infographic. With these morphing animations, you can show the entire infographic and then seamlessly zoom in and scroll through the infographic on the screen. These sorts of techniques can be especially useful when you need to show the audience the full visual and then zoom in so they can see the details.

You also recently gave your presentation at a TED event. Can you share your experience?

Jon Schwabish: I spoke at the TEDxJNJ (Johnson & Johnson) event in Philadelphia. I was invited months earlier and even though I basically knew what I wanted to present right off the bat, it was a long haul to get the message just right and get the slides in great shape. I spent countless hours refining my message (especially the beginning and end), tweaking the slides, and practicing the talk.

When you’re invited to give a TEDx talk, you’re assigned a ‘coach’ who helps you develop your talk and design your visuals. We had weekly calls as I kept tweaking my message, content, and slides; I would send her audio recordings of my practice runs; and we would walk through slide design options. Just having someone who knew my content, my slides, and my struggles was invaluable. I typically try to rehearse my presentations in front of a live audience (and many of my co-workers at the Urban Institute sat in as I practiced the TEDx talk), but this experience really made me realize how valuable it is to have someone to help bounce ideas, concepts, and design off of.

Standing on that big red circle with the TEDx sign behind me was an incredible experience, and I’m thankful that people find my message value and of interest, and that I can communicate that to them in an engaging way.

Is there a website to go along with the book?

Jon Schwabish: Yes, my newly-redesigned website PolicyViz, has a whole section dedicated to the book (http://policyviz.com/better-presentations/).In that section of the site, you will find presentation, design, and data visualization resources including blogs, books, and tools. I’ve also included a section of Book Materials that you can download for your own use. In that section, I’ve included a Better Presentations Supplies Checklist that includes the technical things you may need when you go out and present. I’ve also included a Better Presentations Worksheet (the focus of Chapter 1), which will help guide your outline and organization. I’ve also included downloadable slides, icons, color palettes, and more.

Where’s the best place to follow you online?

Jon Schwabish: You can follow me on my newly-redesigned website, PolicyViz.com, which now hosts my blog, podcast, shop, and HelpMeViz project. I’m also active on the Urban Institute blog, Urban Wire, and have a researcher page there as well. I’m most active on Twitter, and you can easily find me there @jschwabish.

 

Jon's Bio

Jon Schwabish is an economist, writer, teacher, and creator of policy-relevant data visualizations. He is considered a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in how researchers communicate their findings. His new book Better Presentations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks helps people improve the way they prepare, design, and deliver data-rich content. He is on Twitter @jschwabish

 

Tuesday
Nov222016

Sites Will Lose 1/3 of Sales If Not Mobile-Friendly During the Thanksgiving Weekend

You’re Going to Lose 1/3 of Your Sales If Your Website Isn’t Mobile-friendly During the Thanksgiving Weekend

Interesting analysis and data in the You’re Going to Lose 1/3 of Your Sales If Your Website Isn’t Mobile-friendly During the Thanksgiving Weekend infographic from Skilled.co

During the 2015 Thanksgiving Weekend, online stores made 43% more on average than in 2014. Almost 50% of traffic came from mobile devices while one third of sales was made on smartphones. This year, the mobile traffic is predicted to grow to 57% and the smartphones are going to cut even bigger portion of online sales.

The infographic does a good job of walking the reader through a sequential series of data points and predictions for the 2016 Black Friday weekend sales. Clean visuals, except for the doughnut charts that show sections in random order. Pir charts and doughnut charts should start at 12 o'clock or 0° and sequence the data in descending order in a clockwise direction.

I think the title is too long, and misleading as well. It implies that a company's sales will drop by 33% if their site isn't mobile-friendly, but based on the data they share, you can see that sales through desktop computers continues to rise as well. It might be better to say that a company may miss out on additional sales without a solid mobile purchasing experience. The prediction also ignores that sales through a company's mobile app may offset the risk of having a non-mobile-friendly website.

Thursday
Nov172016

Men's Hats - The Complete Guide

Men's Hats - The Complete Guide infographic

Can't find a hat that looks good on you or don't even know where to start? Samuel Windsor created the Men's Hats - The Complete Guide infographic to clear the confusion on the matter. Feel confident enough to talk the talk at a hat shop, as well as pick the right style for your face shape.

Hats give a man distinction, confidence and protection. This diagrammatic guide will help you find the perfect hat to top your appearance. Confused about what crown to request? Will a flat cap suit a square face? Do you know your bowlers from your boaters?

Nice clean design that does a great job of "show, don't tell". You understand the differences much faster with a visual design like this.

This is also a good design example of a Long Online Lifespan. Hat shapes, styles and face shapes don't change every year. This infographic will be popular and relevant for years to come.

Two things missing from the footer of the design:

  • URL to the origial landing page and website. How can readers find your website?
  • A copyright or Creative Commons license

Thanks to Matt for sending in the link!

Monday
Nov072016

Visual History of US Population

Nathan Yau from FlowingData has created a cool, new animated data visualization, Two Centuries of Population, Animated. The visualization shows the growth and spread of 

You’ve likely seen the population density map of the United States in one form or another. A lot of people per square mile reside in big cities, fewer people reside in suburban areas, and a lot fewer people reside in rural areas. Cities weren’t always cities though. Rural wasn’t always rural. If you look at people per square mile over a couple of centuries, you get a better idea of how the country developed.

The animated map above shows population density by decade, going back to 1790 and up to recent estimates for 2015. The time in between each time period represents a smoothed transition. This is approximate, but it gives a better idea of how the distribution of population changed.

Nerd Notes:

 

  • Nathan used R to generate the maps and FFmpeg to string the images into a video.
  • Data are originally from the Census Bureau but made much more accessible by NHGIS.

 

 

 

Thursday
Oct272016

9 Great DataViz & Infographics Tools with Education Discounts

Data visualization and data literacy are necessary life skills, and you should start developing them now! Whether you need to make a diagram for a Science project, a presentation for your History class, or a chart to solve that Math problem, you should start learning how to use data visualization tools while you’re in school. These tools are being used in classrooms from elementary school up through colleges and universities. While many online design tools offer free trials, these tools offer exclusive educational prices for students, teachers and educators to give them the means to more easily visualize information at a great price.

Here I share some of today’s most popular online data visualization and infographic tools, all offering educational prices. Because these are all online tools, they are all cross-platform, making them great for any computer a student may have; Windows, Mac or Linux. Follow the links to find the current education pricing deals!

I love that all of these online tools are helping to improve data literacy for students and educators all over the world! Which are you favorites? Any more online tools with education pricing plans for students and teachers that I missed?


Visme

Visme is an online tool used to visually present your ideas in the form of infographics, presentations, reports, and much more. Visme has a built-in charting tool gives you the power to easily transform your data into visual content and with their easy-to-use editor. Hundreds of fonts, millions of free images, and thousands of quality icons for use in your designs. Share your designs online with a direct link, post on social media, embed on a website, or download for offline use.

Contact for educational pricing: http://support.visme.co/

 

 

Infogram Education Pricing

Infogr.am

With Infogr.am, you have the power to make your data look its best. Users can easily create interactive charts and graphics that require zero coding. And to make sure your data is always up-to-date, you have the option to connect your chart to live sources like Google Sheets a Dropbox file, or a JSON feed. Educators can create a team account for an entire class.

Contact for educational pricing: https://infogr.am/education

 

 

Piktochart Education Pricing

Piktochart

Take your visual communication to the next level with Piktochart, an easy-to-use infographic maker. Create your charts by importing your data from a Microsoft Excel file or a Google spreadsheet. With a library of hundreds of professionally-designed templates, creating infographics, reports, posters, and presentations has never been easier. Educational pricing for individuals or whole classrooms.

Individual and classroom prices: https://piktochart.com/pricing/education/

 

 

Creately Education Pricing

Creately

With Creately, you can easily make beautiful diagrams in no time. Flow charts, mind maps, organization charts, Venn diagrams, Gantt charts, network diagrams and more. Thousands of ready-made subject-specific templates and over 40 types of diagrams with specialized shape sets are available to make sure your diagram looks its best. And real-time online collaboration allows you to work with fellow students.

Contact for educational pricing: http://creately.com/diagram-products#education

 

 

Venngage Education Pricing

Venngage

Venngage allows users to create infographics in just three easy steps: choose a template, add charts and visuals, and customize your design. In just minutes you can create a visual story in the form of posters, social media posts, and infographics. Post your final designs on social media, embed on websites, or download as an image or PDF file.

Register for a classroom Education account, includes 35 users: https://venngage.com/education-pricing/

 

 

Prezi Education Pricing

Prezi

Prezi is the tool for creating engaging and memorable presentations with the charting tool, editable images, and embedded videos. Give your presentations online or offline, using the library of templates as your starting point. Prezi presentations are built on an open canvas and spatial movement transitions that are unique and easy-to-use.  

Choose an educational pricing package: https://prezi.com/pricing/edu/

 

 

Lucidchart Education Pricing

Lucidchart

Lucidchart is an online diagramming tool for everyone. You  can create flow charts, Venn diagrams, mobile app mockups, network diagrams and more using the extensive shape libraries, or perform a Google image search right in the editor. You can even add a YouTube video to your diagram!

FREE accounts for students and teachers: https://www.lucidchart.com/pages/usecase/education

 

 

Easelly Education Pricing

Easel.ly

With over thousands of infographic templates to chose from, Easel.ly makes creating and sharing your visual ideas easy. The drag-and-drop interface helped Easel.ly win the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Award from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) in 2013. Create your infographic, and then publish online or download a high-resolution file for offline use. Check out their free ebook: How to Use Easel.ly in your Classroom (https://www.easel.ly/blog/infographicsforeducation)

Contact for educational pricing: https://www.easel.ly/contactus

 

 

Plotly Education Pricing

Plot.ly

Plot.ly is a higher-level, advanced data visualization platform that helps data science, engineering, and analytics students create create informative graphics using an open source visualization library and an online chart creation tool. With Plotly, users can easily import data, create charts, and share their findings by embedding them on a website, exporting them, or creating presentations and dashboards. Create technical visuals using tools and APIs for D3.js, Python, R, MATLAB, Excel and more.

Student pricing for Professional features: http://marketing.plot.ly/education.html

 

Article was reposted by The Huffington Post

Tuesday
Oct252016

Earth's Temperature Timeline

A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature infographic

A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature is another great data visualization design by Randall Monroe at XKCD.com! Real data and a humorous take on historical events!

A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature since the last ice age glaciation. When people say "The climate has changed before," these are the kinds of changes they're talking about.

It's a long design on purpose. That's what drives the context of the data so strongly. 22,000 years of small changes and major historical events and then "Oh shoot..."

Found on FlowingData

Thursday
Oct202016

Electrocardiography Basics

Electrocardiography Basics infographic science illustration poster

Electrocardiography Basics is a new infographic science illustration poster design by Eleanor Lutz at TabletopWhale.com for Nerdcore Medical. You can purchase the printed poster for $19.99 from Nerdcore Medical.

This week’s collaboration with Nerdcore Medical was a fun chance to try a more simple style than I usually use. For this poster I wanted to show 11 different kinds of heartbeat EKGs in a colorful design.

I wanted to highlight the unique shapes of each EKG wave as the focal point of the poster. After trying a few different things, I decided to try and make a digital heartbeat “sunrise,” where each of the EKG waves defined a specific colorful section of the poster. I thought it would show off the simple shape of the waves, and also work as a practical way to section off the different descriptions.

I ended up designing each line in Illustrator, and then importing the shapes to Photoshop to add textured shadows, color overlays, and text. More... 

Eleanor followed up this design with a behind-the-scenes blog Rough Drafts and Sketches post about what went into her design process, and specifically the color palette selection process (a beautiful infographic design itself!).


Friday
Oct142016

A House Divided: The Rise of Political Partisanship

The Rise of Partisanship in the House of Representatives is a video infographic showing network maps and animating their change over time. Business Insider published this great data visualization video earlier this year.

 

This 60-second animation shows how divided Congress has become over the last 60 years

It's news to no one that Congress has had a hard time passing legislation in recent years. Some have even asserted that partisanship in Washington has reached historic levels. But how do we put the current divide in perspective? A group of researchers recently tried to quantify and visualize House partisanship in a paper published in PLoS ONE.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian. Original visualization by Mauro Martino.

To understand what is being displayed:

  • Each dot represents a member of the U.S. House of Representatives
  • Connection lines represent when two members voted the same way
  • Connection line thickness represents how often they voted together during each 2-year period
  • Dot size based on the total number of connections
  • Color represents political party

A poster version of this design is also available on Mauro Martino's site:

Thanks to Sue Miller for sharing on Facebook!