There was a time when infographics were all the rage, (between 2007 and 2012 being the ‘peak’ years) but how we design, and the programmes we use, has changed.
Now, designers are looking beyond the subjective nature of infographics to the more fluid and sophisticated concept of data visualisation. This, whilst holding many similar traits to its design cousin (they both convert data into graphics), allows for much greater creative scope; especially because you’ll find them generated automatically through the use of algorithms or computer programmes rather than the template tools often used by Infographics.
Designers love how creative they can be with data visualisation. Its evolution, from the need to custom-code and build every single visual, to user interface charts that are algorithmically shaped and colour-coded, offers endless possibilities.
Let’s face it, data in black and white can look pretty boring, but by placing it in an eye-catching visual context, you offer users a much easier and more interesting way to see any trends, correlations or patterns you want to expose (via heat maps, sparklines or fever charts for example). Images used in data visualisation can be interactive too, allowing users to look and analyse findings further.
Data really is the new black in the design world. Using data visualisation is relevant, helps users explore facts and curiosities, and it works well on hand-held mobile devices. And yet, its overuse could become a concern. We don’t always need visuals for simple data that can be done by using coding in graphics and images – it needs to be relevant to be interesting.
The design world has definitely moved on from the world of Infographics, and as touched upon here, design visualisation will also evolve as our design needs change.
Watch this space!