Visualizing information for social change

 In Communications

Word Cloud created with Wordle

In an information-saturated age, many of us appreciate images and graphics to help us think through complex topics and remember concepts. When I create materials using images and colorful tables to illustrate data and information, the people I work with light up. For example, a map that shows where an organization is doing its work coupled with demographics that show the socio-economic conditions of those communities can be illuminating.

With more tools out there to help us create information graphics, data has never been more appealing. Here is a roundup of online articles and inspirational uses of informational graphics:

  • Edward Tufte is widely known as the guru of information design and informational graphics. His website links to a feature story about his work titled, “The Minister of Information” in New York Magazine (June 18, 2007)
  • Watch for interactive graphics in news articles. Many news organizations and journalists are experimenting with ways to use new tools for creating interactive graphics for online readers. Take, for example, Mission Local, a news site run by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. According to this article, they created a map of restaurant health inspections that generated over 8,700 page views the day it was posted.
  • A picture’s worth 1,000 words – An article on information graphics for nonprofits by Big Duck.
  • GOOD displays a gallery of infographic samples including this one: How to Build a Small Army of Volunteers.
  • Data Visualization and Infographics Resources by Smashing Magazine
  • Interactive Timeline by Dipity
  • Google Public Data Explorer – Create visualizations of public data, link to them or embed them on your website.
  • WordleWord clouds you generate online (like the one above).
  • Take a 3-Minute Vacation and Make Art! -Blue Avocado magazine has a little fun in this article.
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