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

Infographic Design

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Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Monday
May092016

Kitchen Trends to Consider and Avoid

Kitchen Trends to Consider and Avoid infographic

Kitchen Trends to Consider (and Avoid) for Your Remodel is a comprehensive infographic from The Home Depot, covering the current kitchen design trends and top reasons to remodel your own.

A kitchen makeover can seem daunting and out of reach, but simple updates to cabinets, countertops, and colors can help an old and ignored kitchen feel fresh, fashionable, and, best of all, functional.

The following infographic from The Home Depot gives expert designer Kerrie Kelly’s tips on the hottest trends in new cabinets, countertops, colors and accents, and pointers for how to take your kitchen from drab to fab. Kelly’s design advice (don’t be afraid of color!) as well as warnings against what to avoid (go easy on the patterns), will give you all the latest in kitchen remodel trends. From the light, airy look of white cabinets, to the natural, organic look of elements like limestone and forestry, there is a trendy style for every taste.

And if keeping up with DIY television shows isn’t enough reason to get started, we’ve got three essential reasons for you to roll up your sleeves and get moving on your kitchen renovation. An updated kitchen affects your biggest investment — your home — as well as your quality of life. (Hint: Did you know that 90 percent of people report a greater desire to be home after a remodel?) Read the infographic for more reasons to get started, and visit this remodel planning guide for actionable ideas and advice.

Generally, I recommend against using photos in an infographic design, but the use of photos here is crucial to communicating the different design trends and kitchen looks. The combination fo photos with simple, one-color data visualizations works very well, and clearly communicates the different aspects of each design and function.

This is also a fantastic case-study in choosing an infographic topic that is compatible and related to your business. This isn't an advertisement for Home Depot, linking to specific products on their site. Instead, it's informative to consumers and actionable information they use to make their own purchase decisions. The information included is valuable to everyone that has a kitchen, and is likely to be shared often.

Thanks to The Daily Meal for sharing the infographic!

 

 

Friday
May062016

The Mother of All Mother's Day Infographics

Your Guide to the Business of Mother's Day may be the reigning Mother of All Mother's Day infographics from TheShelf.com covering practically everything you'd ever want to know about the business of Mother's Day. However, the data visualization portions need some help.

Mother's Day is right around the corner, creeping up on both consumers and brands alike. And even though, year after year, the majority of presents are bought super last minute, our spending on Mom is off the charts! 

...And why shouldn't it be, the wonderful women in our lives are worth everything that we can throw at them (assuming it's good) on their special day, and that's why we've created this pretty huge rundown of all things Mother's Day.

This is a data-heavy infographic that breaks my 5-second rule. Instead of trying to tell one story really well, they threw in every bit of data they could get their hands on. They have so many sections, it's worth taking a closer look at a few to see what we can learn from the design choices.

The dedicated landing page is very well put together! Plenty of text for SEO and custom wording in the social sharing buttons and even custom social images to make sharing the infographic super-easy for readers! My only complaint is that they aren't sized for the social media sites. Twitter needs images with an aspect ratio of 2:1.

Let's take a closer look at one of the sections:

When you mix some data visualized and some data shown in text alone, the visualized data is perceived as more important to readers. These data points shown in just text is usually ignored by readers because it wasn't important enough to visualize.

If you follow me, you'll know that I have a specific pet peeve with designers getting the sizes of circles wrong when used to visualize data. [See False Visualizations: Sizing Circles in Infographics]

The circles is this design don't match any of the data. I'll demonstrate here. The total area of Greeting Cards at 80% should be exactly four times the area of the The Books circle at 20%. However, you can see here that I can easily fit seven of the Books circles in the Greeting Cards circle with much more room to spare!

 

The data may be good, but the visualization is all wrong. It looks like the designer was eye-balling the sizes instead of actually visualizing data. Things like this make me skeptical, and begin to question every other visualization in the whole design. 

Let's look at another section:

The flower is a pie chart, so it needs to follow the Golden Rule of Pie Charts! It MUST add up to 100%! However, this flower/pie chart adds up to 129%! What??? The 63% section by itself should be more than half of the flower, but it's shown as less than half.

One you start looking you'll find more problems. Why is 84% represented by 51 out of 56 people icons? That's 91%. Separately, why would you choose 56 icons to represent the total of 100%? Use 100 icons!

Lots of good data included in this infographic, but the design needs to go back to the drawing board.

Thanks to Sabrina for sending in the link!

Thursday
May052016

Next Generation Interactive Scientific Poster

The Next Generation Scientific Poster project by The Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Kiel, Germany takes scientific data visualization and designed a physical, interactive interface for audiences. As a result, they founded The Science Communication Lab as a spin-off from the academy so they could offer this expertise to researchers in the scientific community all over the world.

Check out this video demonstration on YouTube:

From their description:

The classical poster does often not offer enough space for the sheer complexity of the contents – texts, pictures, graphs and tables – used to convey scientific research today which causes inability to communicate contents and statements concisely. The classical poster also lacks an appropriate possibility for continuous updates which are necessary to include newer research results and would do justice to today‘s constant changes of information. 

The interactive poster is a a new method of presenting scientific topics in an attractive way, offering the user an easier access to the contents and a clearly improved possibility of comprehension. The illustrated topics are supposed to function self-explanatory and long-lasting which means that the viewer can decide on the depth and duration of the information process.

The interactive poster can be used for various purposes: For the internal demonstration of the research projects (poster sessions), on expert conferences and conventions in an international context. The newly developed technology -LED displays with a touch frame- can be used in a more reliable and long-lasting way than conventional projection technologies.

Thanks to Pieter Torrez from Scigrades for the link and his interview article with Professor Tom Duscher

Thursday
Apr282016

All 30,699 career shots by Kobe Bryant


The LA Times created a fantastic interactive data visualization of every shot taken by Kobe Bryant during his career. All 30,699 of them!

Kobe Bryant's 30,699th and final field goal came from 19 feet with 31 seconds left against the Utah Jazz. During his 20 years with the Lakers, he fired up more than 30,000 shots, including the regular season and playoffs.

Take a tour of key shots over his 20-year career, or explore the makes and misses over his long career on your own.

The data is sourced from stats.nba.com, and the visualization was build with leaflet and cartodb. The reader can hover over any specific dot to see the details of each shot. It's not obvious, but you can adjust the court image on the right to view the shots from the other end of the court. Color-coded for made and missed shots, you can also Tour the Data to see the most significant shots from his career, like his final shot:

Similar visualization style to the BallR visualization I posted about a few weeks ago.

For the serious fan, it's also available for purchase as a poster version for $59.95, which include more stats and visualizations from his career.

Found on FlowingData!

Wednesday
Apr202016

How Much Would Darth Vader's Suit Cost?

How Much Would Darth Vader's Suit Cost? infographic

How Much Would Darth Vader's Suit Cost? After Shade Station added up all the state of the art equipment like augmented reality in his helmet, his suit being on par with a NASA space suit, as well as all the medical bills from his prosthetic limbs. The total cost was around $18.3 Million! No worries though, the dark side always seems to have enough money to spend.

Darth Vader is arguably the most memorable character from the Star Wars universe, and his suit is one of the most iconic costumes in film history. But how much would that suit cost in real life?

Quick and easy infographic that does a good job of telling one story really well. I would have visualized the different expenses to show show where most of the money goes.

Thanks to Dave for sending in the link! 

Monday
Apr182016

Experts Predict the Future of Data Analytics and Visualization

IBM Watson Analytics is a data discovery service that guides data exploration, automates predictive analytics and enables dashboard and data visualization creation. Through their Expert Series videos, Watson Analytics explores the future trends of data analytics. I had the pleasure of participating in this series, along with other prominent figures in the field.

Watch these interviews to learn about today’s trends in data visualization, data analysis, and which trends we think will have the most significant impact on the future of analytics.

 

What trends in data visualization are you seeing today and what are the opportunities for the future? (2:24)

Cathy Harrison (@VirtualMRX), Randy Krum (@rtkrum), William McKnight (@williammcknight), Tony Adams (@tonyadam)

 

Which trend do you think will have the most significant impact on the future of Analytics and why? (1:52) (1:44)

Deborah Berebichez (@debbiebere), Randy Krum (@rtkrum), Anil Batra (@AnilBatra), Valdis Krebs (@OrgNet), Christopher Penn (@cspenn)

 

What is your #1 tip for anyone who is asked to use data to inform business decisions? (2:22)

Deborah Berebichez (@debbiebere), Miles Austin (@milesaustin), Juntae DeLane (@JuntaeDeLane), Anil Batra (@AnilBatra), Tony Adams (@tonyadam)

 

What trends in data analysis are you seeing today, and what are the opportunities for the future? (2:19) (1:37)

Emilio Ferrara (@jabawack), Bob E. Hayes (@bobehayes), John D. Cook (@JohnDCook), Juntae DeLane (@JuntaeDeLane), Miles Austin (@milesaustin)

 

 

You can also subscribe and follow all of the IBM Watson Analytics videos on YouTube:

 

Friday
Apr152016

The Truthful Art by Alberto Cairo: Interview & Giveaway

The Truthful Art is the newest book by Alberto Cairo, and the second book of a longer, planned series. Following the huge acclaim and success of his last book, The Functional Art, Alberto expertly dives into getting data visualizations both accurate and designed for effective communication. 

This month I am giving away one signed copy of The Truthful Art! Register on the Giveaways Page by April 30th to be entered.

The Truthful Art explains:

• The role infographics and data visualization play in our world

• Basic principles of data and scientific reasoning that anyone can master

• How to become a better critical thinker

• Step-by-step processes that will help you evaluate any data visualization (including your own)

• How to create and use effective charts, graphs, and data maps to explain data to any audience

Alberto Cairo is the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami, where he teaches courses on infographics and data visualization. He is also director of the Visualization program of UM's Center for Computational Science, and Visualization Innovator in Residence at Univisión, besides being a consultant for several tech companies. He is the author of the books The Functional Art: An Introduction to Information Graphics and Visualization (2012) and The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication (2016).

Everyone should follow Alberto Cairo on Twitter (@albertocairo)! He is one of the most vocal dataviz experts online, and shares his wisdom and insights openly. Also, you can download a sample of the new book with the first 40 pages of the book available on Google Drive.

I sent Alberto a handful of questions about The Truthful Art:

Who is the book intended for?

In the Epilogue I joke that I wrote 'The Truthful Art' for my past self, 8 or 10 years ago. As a journalist and designer, I didn't receive appropriate training in data reasoning in college, and that led me to make many mistakes in my career. The book is for communicators of any kind (journalists, graphic designers, marketing folks) who need to deal with data on a regular basis. It's certainly a book about data visualization and infographics, but it also covers the steps that come before you start designing anything: Getting your information as right as possible.

How do you define the difference between a visualization and an infographic?

In the book I explain that the boundary between these and other genres is very fuzzy. For me, an infographic is a combination of words and visuals (charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations) that makes a certain story understandable for people. The designer decides what data to show, and how to structure it, sometimes as a narrative or story. A data visualization doesn't necessarily tell a story, but it enables people to come up with their own conclusions, by letting them explore the information. Infographics emphasize explanation, data visualizations emphasize exploration.

What does in mean for a visualization to be truthful?

The whole book deals with this topic. In general, it requires a proper, honest, and thorough exploration of your information; asking people who know more than you do about it; and then a proper choice of visual forms to represent it.

Why are we more likely to accept visual information as truth?

It's not just visual information, it's any kind of information. We human beings aren't skeptical by nature. Our default is belief.

It is only when we become aware of the multiple ways our own brain, and other people, can trick us that we begin questioning what we see, read, hear, and feel. It is true, though, that recent research has shown that visualizations make messages more credible; this is something that can be used for good or for evil.

I don't know why many of us tend to take visualizations at face value, but it may have to do with the fact that most of us unconsciously associate charts and data maps with science. Those graphics look so precise, so crisp, so elegant! They must be accurate and truthful, right? --Well, perhaps not!

How difficult is it to choose the right chart style?

Not that difficult if you think about the message that you want to convey, or the tasks you want to enable, instead of relying just on your personal aesthetic preferences. I love maps, and I wrote an entire, long chapter about them for the book, but that doesn't mean that everything should be a map. A map may give you certain insights, but may also obscure others. In many cases, a chart may be better.

How can we become better skeptics and critical thinkers when we see data visualizations?

The key is to remember a maxim that I repeat in the book: A visualization is not something to be seen, but something to be read. Approach data visualizations and infographics not as beautiful illustrations (although beauty is a very important feature) to be looked at quickly, but as visual essays. Read them carefully, ask yourself if the designer is showing everything that needs to be shown. Remember that a single number or variable means very little on its own. In infographics, context is everything, and comparisons are paramount.

Is complexity the enemy of good data visualization design?

Far from it. Many designers believe that data visualizations and infographics are intended to “simplify” data. As my friend, the designer Nigel Holmes, has repeatedly said, infographics shouldn't simplify, but clarify. Clarification in some cases means reducing the amount of information you present, but in many others it requires you to increase it. In the book I show some examples of graphics that fail because their designers reduced the data so much that they rendered it meaningless. If a story is complex, its representation will necessarily be complex as well.

This said, it is good to be reminded of that old maxim commonly attributed to Einstein: Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. Over-complicated visualizations are also problematic. If your message is simple or trivial, why creating an extremely intricate graphic?

What’s available for readers on the book website: http://www.thefunctionalart.com/p/the-truthful-art-book.html?

For now, www.thefunctionalart.com contains my blog, contact information, information about both books, and some other resources. I have added software tutorials, and will soon post some of the data from the book. My professional website, http://www.albertocairo.com/, which will be launched soon, will contain more resources.

Are you speaking at any upcoming presentations or webinars?

Yes. I post most of my speaking engagements and consulting gigs here: http://www.thefunctionalart.com/p/speaking-schedule.html

Where’s the best place to follow you online?

My blog and Twitter. I use Twitter (@albertocairo) to take notes for myself, and save interesting resources, so if you want to see what I see or read what I read, that's the place to go!

 

Monday
Apr112016

What are Data Centers?

What are Data Centers? infographic

The Internet is where we store and receive a huge amount of information. It is also the home of Netflix, one of our largest sources of instant entertainment these days. But how does it work? The Internet is so vast! How does Netflix even get the videos to you? Where is all the information stored? And what does it mean when I store things on "The Cloud?" The answer is data centers.

What are Data Center? infographic from Wilcon can answer all these questions and more about Internet storage and dispersion. 

When you think of a data center, you probably think of a room that looks like it’s out of Star Wars. A darkened room with rows of blinking servers and cool air blowing through the floor. But what does that have to do with your day-to-day life? More than you realize. The role of the data center is surprisingly understated due to how vital it is in nearly every business function. All the movies and TV shows you stream on a daily basis wouldn’t be possible without data centers. So, what exactly are they and how do they work? This infographic from Wilcon examines the layout of data centers and how they function to keep our data secure.

 

Thanks to Alan for sending in the link!

Thursday
Mar312016

A New Visme: Huge Update to the Online Design Tool

The new Visme is here. Following eight months of dedicated work to address more than 30 user requests, Visme now gives its users an even smoother workflow. By improving user experience, development infrastructure, and scalability, the new Visme enables faster deployment and increased productivity with a familiar interface.

Of course, the best way for a design platform like Visme to share the new features is with an infographic designed using their own tool! You can see the infographic and all of the update features in this Visme blog post.

If you're not already familiar with Visme, it's an easy-to-use online visual content editor that allows you to create stunning presentations, reports, infographics, interactives, and more. Used by designers worldwide as their vector design platform that replaces the need for traditional software apps like Adobe Illustrator or Microsoft PowerPoint. With Visme, you can visualize stories and data, which is why it’s trusted by 300,000+ marketers, communicators, executives, educators, and nonprofits from 50+ countries.

With the upgraded Visme, you can:

  • Produce an alluring narrative with the revamped text editor and updated text widgets. Custom styling and padding, along with a spread of lively fonts, give your words an illustrative charm that bounces off the screen, transforming dull text blocks into something to see.

  • Move multiple objects and copy to them to slides to reorganize your story without hassle. No need for tedious work when you can duplicate and tweak rather than constantly starting anew or pasting too much and working backwards.

  • Create a global color palette to guarantee consistency throughout a complex project. This allows you to keep track of colors in a visual language in order to design quicker without guesswork or extra steps.

  • Choose from millions of free images to present a more striking take on your content. Don't spend hours online looking for the right picture and if you can even use it. Brighten up your work with ease and efficiency to grab your audience's attention without entering a labyrinth.

  • Record audio, upload your own or choose from a collection of high-quality music clips to strengthen a presentation with a narration or background music. Audio gives your content an extra level of exciting depth. Manage timing and fade control from one intuitive panel.

  • Expand your data storytelling tactics with new chart types and a selection of thousands of adjustable vector shapes and icons. Go far beyond standard and avoid being repetitive with new data visualization capabilities. You can even make them animated.

  • Get started quickly with a vastly expanded library of templates and themes, tailored for specific industries and purposes. You'll have the right look for exactly what you're doing.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Visme Founder Payman Taei in this webinar for Visme members, where he also demonstrated the new capabilities of the updated Visme design platform:

It's time to step up your game and make your presentations and infographics more impactful and effective. Try Visme for FREE, and when you're ready to subscribe, use the discount code VISME30 for 30% OFF for the lifetime of your account!

Monday
Mar282016

BallR: Interactive NBA Shot Charts

BallR: Interactive NBA Shot Charts

BallR: Interactive NBA Shot Charts is a tool built by Todd W. Schneider that takes the NBA's Stats API data and creates a visual representation of an NBA player's season. You can pick any NBA player and season to create the shot chart. The above infographic is an example of a hexagonal chart of Stephen Curry's Field Goal Percentage (FG%) relative to the league average within each region of the court during the 2015–16 season.

The NBA’s Stats API provides data for every single shot attempted during an NBA game since 1996, including location coordinates on the court. I built a tool called BallR, using R’s Shiny framework, to explore NBA shot data at the player-level.

BallR lets you select a player and season, then creates a customizable chart that shows shot patterns across the court. Additionally, it calculates aggregate statistics like field goal percentage and points per shot attempt, and compares the selected player to league averages at different areas of the court.

Hexagonal charts, popularized by Kirk Goldsberry at Grantland, group shots into hexagonal regions, then calculate aggregate statistics within each hexagon. Hexagon sizes and opacities are proportional to the number of shots taken within each hexagon, while the color scale represents a metric of your choice, which can be one of:

  • FG%
  • FG% vs. league average
  • Points per shot

Scatter charts are the most straightforward option: they plot each shot as a single point, color-coding for whether the shot was made or missed. Here’s an example again for Stephen Curry

 

Heat maps use two-dimensional kernel density estimation to show the distribution of a player’s shot attempts across the court.

Anecdotally I’ve found that heat maps often show that most shot attempts are taken in the restricted area near the basket, even for players you might think of as outside shooters. BallR lets you apply filter to focus on specific areas of the court, and it’s sometimes more interesting to filter out restricted area shots when generating heat maps. For example here’s the heat map of Stephen Curry’s shot attempts excluding shots from within the restricted area (see here for Curry’s unfiltered heat map).

Built using R's Shiny framework, I really like this interactive dataviz. The code designed to create this was also published on GitHub so anyone can check it out and try your own modifications. Very cool!

Found on Flowing Data.