Following our needs to find a way to easily filter through the vast see of data the internet is providing us with, and the possibilities the web offers us, visuals and visualizations are becoming more and more important. Data journalism is becoming more and more important and the bigger the data sets, the more the need to create overview and meaning to it. Applications that help us visualize these sets of data into a visual story are helpful and welcome tools. Datavisualiztion.ch has very beautifully summed up a useful set of handpicked tools that will help you generate maps, charts and sift through data. So that you can ‘see’ the story behind the data and use insightful visuals to underline a story. The key element of these tools being that they use the data as a start to create a visual overview. The sets of data in charts maps and graphs will than help you create the whole story, whether in visually or as a written story with visual overview.
With this risen need of visuals, the infographic has become the tool of choice to generate more traffic, tell tales and bring insight. There are several services to jump into this given is Easel.ly, a service ( still in beta) that promises easily generated customizable inforaphics. It offers multiple templates to choose from as well as ok looking graphics to help you create your infographic. Info.gr offers the same service with basic visuals and the possibility to add your own data. They sell their service as being the solution for journalist to tell their story and skip the hire a designer process. The latest addition in this automated infographic hype is venngage a similar service ( or so it seems because the service offered by infographic platform visual.ly has yet to go public)
Although I think it is a good thing to make the making of understandable beautiful insightful graphics easier for everyone, there is one problem with these kind of services; It is working the wrong way around. To tell a story visually you take the data, decide on the story that needs to be told and than take that data to create visuals that accurately tell that story, with comparison, connection, mapping and other visual possibilities so that it clarifies the story and the numbers to go with it. Instead of choosing a visual basic and add numbers and text to it. Although beautifully displayed, the added value that visuals can provide is neglected in this way.
The future will tell, will infographics look all the same, not providing us with the great visual insights visuals can help us with… or will it challenge us to differ..