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The Art of Interactive Infographic Design

by Tracey

Ben Shneiderman, computer scientist and professor at the University of Maryland, coined the ever-powerful mantra of visual information design: “Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand.” These simple principles are the commandments of interactive visual information. We need visual information to convey large amounts of data instantly and attractively. To best digest and refine our visual information, we need it to be responsive and interactive.

In Prospect Visual, we always begin with an overview and then filter down. And because he’s on topic, let’s take a peek at just a few of Ben Shneiderman’s connections: See Image Here.

From here, we can conduct fisheye zooming and filtering out. We have many filtering options, but in this case, I want to see only the strong connections that Ben has: See Image Here.

The final piece to Shneiderman’s puzzle is details on demand. When we hover over pathways, as shown below, we are provided with additional information, and upon clicking, we may dive even deeper into that particular relationship to see how these relationships came to be. See Image Here.

Shneiderman’s guidelines for perfect interactive visual information design seem to encapsulate all the necessities for a streamlined functionality. But there is one more thing I would add to it: provide options. There is no appropriate way to convey information without considering your audience. So what is the best way to convey relationship information to my team? That depends on my goals and on my team’s taste. Am I working with visual learners, researchers, fundraisers? That’s why we provide the ability to see all information in multiple ways. Here, we see a tabular view: Image. And a map view: Image.

“Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand” and my addition, consider your team and provide options. Is there anything else you would add to Ben Shneiderman’s mantra?

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