Data visualization – does a picture tell a thousand words?
With the rise of the infographic and emerging social image-sharing sites like Pinterest and Instagram, there’s never been a better time to be developing visual content. And while they require more technical knowledge to produce, more and more firms are getting creative with the pictorial medium – often with substantial pay-offs. Here are just two examples I’ve seen recently of firms turning hard-to-parse data into creative visualizations as opposed to written content:
First of all, this recent infographic about fan interactions around the most popular characters from the Marvel Comics, done by data analytics firm Networked Insights. What’s particularly interesting about this infographic is that it turns some very quantitative data (such as demographic balances and sentiment rankings) into a story with explanations and subject matter that most people will “get”.
Then there’s this “moving infographic” trailer for upcoming Xbox game Watch Dogs about the real-life Northeast blackout in 2003 (albeit with some fictionalized details). The game – set in a near-future world where our cities are “optimized” by supercomputers – looks set to deal with many of the issues surrounding big data and analytics which most companies are already talking about, using some highly-appropriate data visualization in the trailer:
We’re seeing more examples of visual content pieces which link “big issues” and popular topics with the key messaging of the firms producing them (often through humor, like this EngineeringDegree.net infographic on toilet paper). My own prediction is we’ll see more firms leveraging the zeitgeist and “hot topics” in their visual content, especially when they’re dealing with more technical issues that don’t translate as easily into the written word. The challenge is making sure the firm’s own key messaging doesn’t get snowed under by the pictures and pop-culture references.
Text100 has been working on a couple of similar projects for our clients, including this infographic on how IBM is trying to cure the common cold – it’s early days yet, but we’re finding visual content often gets shared far more quickly and widely than data-heavy writing. Hop over to our Text100 Design Services site to see how else we can help.
What other trends are you seeing in the visualization space? Join or follow the continuing discussion on LinkedIn, too!
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Text100 Sydney blog, Digital Comms Down Under.