Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Video Infographics

One of the areas of visualisation that is starting to impact on us every day is the area of infographics ("information graphics"). Infographics are visual representations of information that communicate that information to "readers" at a glance, although increasingly information graphics are starting to rely on their 'readers' having a certain degree of 'visual literacy', in the sense of being able to understand the conventions that the infographic may be using to frame its design.

Take for example the following infographic from the 1970s. Write down the story that you think this plaque tells.

If you knew that the plaque was mounted on a spacecraft (NASA's Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 interplanetary explorers from the 1970s) as an 'interplanetary calling card', would the plaque have told you a different story? What story would that be?

For a good reading of the plaque, see: The Pioneer Plaque (Wikipedia).

As well as 'fixed image' infographics, the increasing availability of simple video production tools and the explosion in online video (where viewers are happy to graze on short, 3-5 minute self-contained video programmes) has resulted in the appearance of short 'video infographics'.

These combine visual storytelling with 'animated text' to make certain key points explicit.

Here is one of my favourite 'video infographics':

How do the graphical elements communicate or reinforce the factual information that the video is presenting.

See if you can find any other examples of this sort of video storytelling; provide a link back to any relevant videos you find as a comment to this post.

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