An interview with Amanda Cox on data visualization. Cox is the graphics designer for the New York Times, which has a reputation for fine graphics. Lots of very interesting ideas here. For instance:
The ability to ask good questions is really what we start with. I come from a statistics background, and I’m finding statistics students’ portfolios are crazy weak compared to the computer science students, even though they’re playing with the same problems. I think it’s because comp sci students are encouraged to play, whereas stats majors it’s, “here’s your rule book, now make things.”
Don’t do this. Logo fails. Each one makes an interesting study: can you figure out why they failed?
Seth Godin talks about rules for public things. To sum up, with my comments in parentheses:
- The more often a device is used by first-time users, the more standardized the interface should be. (Most academics at a conference are early career researchers.)
- Who gets left out is the most important question. (No poster is meant for everyone. Also, think about people with less than perfect vision.)
- The best interface is no interface.
The Scholarly Kitchen has an interview with Michael Bierut about type. It includes this bit about science:
Q: The Higgs Boson — perhaps the most important scientific discovery of the past 50 years — was announced via a PowerPoint deck that used the Comic Sans typeface extensively. Why do you think the scientists chose this? Was it a wise choice?
A: Well, as I understand it, the scientists at CERN were actually surprised that people commented on this. Reportedly Fabiola Gianotti, the coordinator of the CERN program to find the Higgs Boson, was asked why she had selected Comic Sans. She simply said, “Because I like it.”
Dennis Eckmeier provides a nice examination of the shortcomings of the standard bar graph.
Elizabeth J. Petro tweeted how to put a poster away (snipped):
Just observed an incredibly clever poster rolling method: leave one side attached to board while rolling; then detach.
Oh, and while I have talked about the usefulness of QR codes here on the blog, even I have to admit this post kind of has a point: