About
Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

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Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Tuesday
Jan102017

Digital Marketing Tools Landscape

Essential Digital Marketing Tools Landscape infographic

The Essential Digital Marketing Tools infographic from Smart Insights is a cleaner approach to a landscape design style, and only covers their top 5 picks in each of 30 different categories.

As marketers today, we’re fortunate to have a huge number of free and low-cost tools to give us insight about our customers, competitors and market. They also help us compete by delivering automated relevant, real-time communications integrated across desktop and mobile and digital plus traditional marketing channels.

To help highlight the range of great options available, our infographic and free Digital Marketing Tools and Services 2016 download recommends 30 categories of marketing technology and our pick of the most popular 5 in each category. We’ve grouped them across the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework for managing digital marketing so you can review where you could make better use of the tools across the customer lifecycle.

What inspired us to create this infographic and guide?

We were inspired by Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology landscape which does an excellent job of defining ‘enterprise’ tools for managing digital marketing, but can be difficult to read because of the sheer number of tools. Also, we wanted to include more low-cost and free ‘hands-on’ insight tools which are important for managing activities like Search, Social media and conversion rate optimisation. These don’t tend to be included on Scott’s landscape. We also wanted to highlight the most popular, well-regarded services, particularly those which can be used across all sizes of businesses rather than being affordable only by the biggest brands.

I'm generally not a fan of these complex landscape designs. They're cluttered, complex, and don't help readers understand the information very effectively. I think the Smart Insights design helps readers significantly by choosing a limited number to include, and the circular format makes for an improved reading experience.

I also like the use of this infographic as content to draw in readers for their larger report on these marketing tools. As I wrote in my article "Marketing FAIL: Infographics Hidden Behind Registration Walls"

My personal belief is that they were also inspired by The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3, which I also think is a good landscape design style.

 

Monday
Jan092017

Navigating The Agile Landscape

Navigating The Agile Landscape infographic

The Agile Landscape v3 is a visualization of many of the methodologies within the Agile Process by Chris Webb from Deloitte that uses the visualization design style of a subway map to group related activites and the show connections. Chris posted a longer description of the design on the Deloitte blog: Navigating the Agile Landscape

Chris Webb:

Being Agile isn’t as simple as following one single methodology. In fact, Agile encompasses a number of different practices and frameworks, often referred to as “the Agile umbrella.” For an organisation to be successful in adopting Agile ways of working, it requires the right technique/method to be used to address the problem or need.

Given there are so many different Agile frameworks, a challenge many organisations or individuals face is deciding which framework to use and in which context. In this post, we use an analogy to help bring some light to this.

We like to conceptualise Agile as a highly interconnected landscape of practices transporting ideas across zones to value. There is no perfect starting point, nor an express line or a direct route suiting all conditions.We’ll leave you to explore the Agile Landscape, and leave you with this:

Do not be afraid to try, learn and adapt practices to your situation. The truth is, no one framework is better than another. Although when it is contextually applied, a framework or selection of practices from multiple frameworks will be best suited.

We are continuously evolving this view to include new practices and ways of working. If you see a framework that is missing and would like to see it added to this view, or if you would like a larger version of the Agile landscape please reach out at chwebb@deloitte.com.au

I often teach students to experiment by mixing different data visualization methods with different kinds of data, and good designs like this are often the result.

My criticism of the design would be that the overall feel is way too complicated because many of the paths have unnecessry curves and loops to fit within the constraint of a 4:3 aspect ratio of a presentation slide. The design would be easier to understand and appear more elegant if the paths were staightened out. This would make a larger design, but viewing online or using a 16:9 presentation slide would eliminate the constraint.

Friday
Jan062017

Does Coffee Really Make You More Productive at Work?

Does Coffee Really Make You More Productive at Work? infographic

63% of Americans can't get through the work day without coffee. Does Coffee Really Make You More Productive at Work? infographic explores our cultural obsession with coffee. Turns out that coffee boosts your speed, not your talent so tasks that require quality over quantity do not benefit from caffeine. Toll Free Forwarding tells us how and when to drink coffee for it to be most effective. 

Could you start the day without your morning cup of coffee?   Latest research shows that 61% of Americans can’t get through the day without a cup of java, and even that’s 2% down from 2013.   Let’s face it, ever since the Europeans discovered coffee in the 1600s, it’s been an infatuation of the western world.  This magic brew that makes you vibrant and productive isn’t just an addictive substance, it’s a cultural phenomenon.  

Coffee shops are often credited as the birthplace of the Enlightenment, the American and French Revolutions, and even the Shins!   But what role does coffee have in the workplace?  Does it actually make us more productive or is it mankind’s most effective placebo? This infographic goes in-depth to explain just how coffee affects our daily routine, and how we can nurture our caffeine fixes without over-doing it.   So sit back with your bagel and morning brew, and enjoy the only Infographic that dares to ask: “Does Coffee Really Make You More Productive at Work?”

There's a lot of good information in this design, and it's organized nicely in sequence from top-to-bottom. Most of the information is visualized with good, related illustrations or icons.

It's odd that this infographic comes from Toll Free Forwarding, a company whose business has nothing to do with coffee. This is a challenge for relevance in the SEO world, and if this infographic becomes popular, it still may not have a significant benefit to the publisher because it will be promoting keywords unrelated to their business.

Thanks to Jennie for sending in the link!

Wednesday
Jan042017

2016 The Year In Colour

The Year in Colour Brand Union Infographic

The Year In Colour from Brand Union looks back at 2016 and the dominant colors from the news stories every day of the year.

This year, we chose to depart from traditional season’s greetings (elves toiling in grottoes) in favour of something equally fantastical: an algorithm. We scanned the news media and identified dominant colours from leading headlines for each day of 2016.

However, it is important to note that no matter how far AI has come, it cannot replace human sentiments. Sentiments like wishing you Happy Holidays and our warmest wishes for a delightful New Year. This, we are happy to do in the traditional way: from the heart.

The design is interactive. Each dot will show you the dominant news story of the day when you hover over it, and clicking takes you directly to the article and the images used to determine the colors.

I'm not sure why the rows are 14 dots across; 2-weeks of days. This would have been a little easier to navigate if it matched the 7-day row layout of a standard calendar. Instead, the months are separated, but the dots are just shown as sequential days.

Thanks to Brianna for sending in the link!

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.

 

 

 

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