Information Design

Information Design

I’ve been trying to understand — like all of us I suppose — what is the thing we are going thru with this all embracing pandemic. What is the best course of action, where do I stand in this. Not that my opinion really matters, but in principle: as indivi­duals I think we should stay as informed as possible in order to act as informed members of society.

Doing graphics the “print” way

So when I was reading articles on COVID-19 (in the Finnish media) I was a bit annoyed by the lack of insight in the graphics they used. I’ve been working now for some time already with interactive graphics, infor­mation design and visual coding. And I feel it is an area which is a bit neglected in our daily media.

The graphics I found seemed to fall into two categories: either very simple, static lines and figures on 2D coordi­nates — which IMHO had very little to justify their existence. Basically they were done because “you need graphics” or because your boss ordered, not really increasing unders­tanding and actively illumi­nating the subject. Some of them were really hard to decipher; such as this one on YLE (link to YLE article):

Or the graphics were very complex, interactive web-apps which adjus­table parameters, which might be a bit intimi­dating for your average reader. The threshold for using them – as infor­mative and well executed as they might be – just might be too high. Especially if you were just looking for some insight to be better informed on the subject.

A good example is the REINA-model:

Different approach

So I thought I give it a try i.e taking the same data and trying to make it a bit more unders­tan­dable. As this is a demo, done only as “pro exercitio” I only made just a 1024px wide version, but would be very simple to do the same respon­sively i.e. layouts for vertical displays/smartphones as well.

Click here to see the interactive graphic in full screen

In it’s simplicity, I’d say it is very illustrative and makes the point very obvious.

On a more technical note: I embedded it into WP as an OAM wrapper packet; notice how smoothly it scales in this surrounding as well (see below).

Trouble is that when embedded in a ready made template (such as a WP post section) one only has c. 600 px horizontal. To make matters even worse, if you view it with a smartphone, no optician in the world can help you to decipher the content. Consi­dering that majority of people get their world view from their palms… this has some serious implica­tions for their access to information.

But- back to the actual subject: I think the approach I used clearly demon­strates the impor­tance of COVID-testing and the positive benefits it has for controlling the disease.

I find it suprising this kind of simple interac­tives are not more commonly used in our daily media.

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