RE: _"Infographics_-_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun ication"

Subject: RE: _"Infographics_-_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun ication"
From: "Janoff, Steven" <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- ga -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>, David Artman <david -at- davidartman -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:03:52 -0700

I think someone posted an article a while back about how most of the infographics out there seem more like indulgences for artists and illustrators. Packed with whiz-bang graphics but (often) very little info. Even the ones that have a lot of info, from what I've seen, are often overwhelmed by graphics to the point where the message and the info get lost.

And the problem with Tufte-type stuff is that it's beyond the reach of most technical communicators, unless you also happen to be an accomplished illustrator. I did have the opportunity to do one infographic-like project (posted not too long ago) but I had the good fortune of being able to work with an in-house illustrator and that made a huge difference. The project would have gone nowhere if I'd done it on my own.

For me, David comes closest when he talks about Venn diagrams and flowcharts -- and even, on the periphery, Ikea manuals (but less so).

There's a lot that a non-graphic-skilled writer can do with simple shapes in Visio or another basic drawing program, to convey powerful information and complex interplays of concepts in visual form.

I'd love to see examples that the mere humble writer has done. I think they're out there.

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Lin Sims
Sent: Friday, July 25, 2014 1:04 PM
To: David Artman
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: _"Infographics_-_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun ication"

I wouldn't think so. Again, harking back to Minard's graphic, there's very little text actually involved beyond a brief description of what the black and grey lines represent (number of troops and direction of travel) plus a listing of information sources. Other than that, it's mostly numbers.

In classic techwr-l fashion, the answer is, "it depends". :D


On Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM, David Artman <david -at- davidartman -dot- com>
wrote:

> Thanks, Lin--sufficient definition, certainly. By that definition, I've
> used them most of my career (especially network/port diagrams). But do
> you think an image stops being an infographic if there are no sentence
> structures (e.g., a photo with several textual callouts, some of which
> might be option lists for components: definitely data, but nothing like
> the common 'stat-stack' or the body-movement graphics for gun carry and
> figure skating at the link)?
>
>
>
> Aside: Seems like one would definitely would want to save/deliver them
> as SVG instead of a raster-graphic format, for scalability on different
> devices and for translation or machine reading.
>
>
>
> David
>
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: _"Infographics_aEUR"_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun
> ication"
> From: Lin Sims <[1]ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>
> Date: Thu, July 24, 2014 3:43 pm
> To: David Artman <[2]david -at- davidartman -dot- com>
> Cc: Erika Yanovich <[3]ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com>, "Cardimon, Craig"
> <[4]ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>, "[5]techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com"
> <[6]techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> You can hardly do better than Tufte for highlighting good examples of
> infographics:
> [7]http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0002w4&to
> pic_id=1&topic=
> In essence, an infographic is meant to be an information-dense visual
> representation of data that presents without distorting or obscuring
> the information you are trying to convey.
> Perhaps the all-time classic representation is Minard's graphical
> depiction of Napoleon's invasion of Russia, showing the size of the
> Grand Army in relation to the army's movements (location and distance
> traveled over a period of time) and temperature.
> [8]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png
> Regards,
> Lin
> On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM, David Artman
> <[9]david -at- davidartman -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > From: Erika Yanovich <[1][10]ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com>
> > Can't think of an application in manuals, but I'm not very
> creative
> at the moment (pre-coffee).
> I was thinking something similar would be a great way to express
> options in a complex system and how they interact... but that
> could be
> more like a Venn diagram or flowchart than an 'infographic' as
> depicted
> in that article.
> Also, are Ikea manuals infographics?
> Heck... what IS an infographic? Is it like art--you know it if
> you see
> it, but it's hard to define comprehensively without
> over-generalizing?
>
> References
>
> 1. mailto:ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com
> 2. mailto:david -at- davidartman -dot- com
> 3. mailto:ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com
> 4. mailto:ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com
> 5. mailto:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> 6. mailto:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> 7.
> http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0002w4&topic_id=1&topic=
> 8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minard.png
> 9. mailto:david -at- davidartman -dot- com
> 10. mailto:ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com


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References:
RE: _"Infographics_â_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun ication": From: David Artman
Re: _"Infographics_â_A_Special_Mode_of_Technical_C ommun ication": From: Lin Sims

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