Believe it was Napoleon Bonaparte who uttered the immortal phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” as with inflation and the rise of blogging as an Olympic sport the “thousand” is now a million however who is counting?
Well one person was, Lauren Manning who jotted down everything she ate along with a lot of other things in an attempt to find a better way to visualize data. As the complexity of reading the written word and making sense of it in today’s global world is become a challenging task as many more of them [words] are being created everyday with the advent of blogging (this one being a perfect example) and low entry cost of online media has seen a rocketing number of new faces wanting you to read their words.
However the internet and the “world” is now a global place as while this might sound funny it really is as since it is more affordable to travel abroad, far more people are doing it. Being one of those people, can tell you first hand that a picture is truly worth a thousand words especially in China where I can’t fake a lick of Mandarin as I can with German, or Spanish. With this it is also clear that the demands upon our time coupled with the shear amount of data we are expected to uptake and process in a day is far greater than our parents had to 30 years back.
With all this a new paradigm is forming around the concept of imparting information as a form of graphic expression somewhere between graphic novel and art this genre will land as if I had to lay a guess on the table. In fact, the effectiveness of this is amazing in a simple glance you can see that Lauren likes chicken (a lot) and equally across the seasons. As another aspect of the “infographic” which makes it better then numbers or words is the fact that patterns are easy to spot as they stand against the background in a well formed image.
In fact looking at many of these pop the concept into my head that I need to patent a human readable bar code as in essence this is what these are. Instead of hiding the information from us as the ubiquitous UPS label does on the can of soup at the grocers. An infographic on the other hand is a high context expression of human importance whose goal is to share and not hide information by imparting it in a colorful and engaging manor allowing a simple glance to replace lengthy reads.
In fact several iOS (Apple) application have appeared which scrape the internet for various “infographics” and present them in a Flipboard fashion to the reader for their review and perusal. However the general presentation is more artistic rather then informational as they are more or less random scrapes lacking any form of informational curation to share a logical progression other then obviously presented. While the surface is just being scratched in this new order of communication, it truly is one which I look forward to…