Data Visualisation/Infographics

This weeks homework task was to research and explore the use of infographics/data visualisations online. This seemed like a quick and straightforward task but once you get started you realise there’s an infinite wealth of sites to explore.

I started by thinking about the use of infographics in sport, namely surfing. I looked at how infographics are particularly important in conveying information quickly and easily. Both on a need to know and a day-to-day basis. Probably the most popular website for surfers is magicseaweed.com which allows access to surf reports worldwide.

Here is just one example of how the current weather forecast data has been analysed and then simplified in order to give a concise surf report:

magic-seaweed

This may look rather complicated to a non-surfer but is essential for all those in search of the ultimate wave, or just optimum surf conditions in their area. It works because it is concise, accurate and extremely easy to access. It is probably the first thing a surfer will check in the morning, before even thinking about opening e-mails.

I got drawn in by some really attractive photos and graphics, illustrating the sheer thrill and excitement of surfing. However, on the opposing scale, I came across the following infographic highlighting a not so glamorous side to surfing.

the-toxicity-of-surfing-infographic

The issue being presented is an important one but the use of imagery makes it clear and easy to understand. The infographic works well as it offers a simple presentation of facts whilst proposing eco-friendly alternatives. What’s more, whilst raising public awareness, it is a very useful marketing strategy.

I went on to look at some really dreadful infographics. I don’t think the following one needs much explanation:

1

This ‘weather dong’ has been cited as the number 1 in the ‘top ten worst infographics’ on several blogs and websites. I found it on a post in bobsblitz.com which dates back to 2011. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out when or whether it actually featured in USA Today!

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