Prompt: How might we illustrate examples of “motivational dataviz” in a way that’s entertaining and works for print?
Background: Nightingale Magazine is the Data Visualization Society’s beautifully crafted print publication, covering new ideas and compelling work in the data visualization community. They asked us to contribute an article and illustrations about the non-informational, motivational impacts that data visualizations can have on viewers.
Challenge: Designing for print is a unique, refreshing challenge. To work in this medium, each visualization needed to work as a standalone artifact and be relatively constrained in size and color. They also needed to be approachable and quick to consume to catch readers’ attention as they flip through the magazine.
- While each visualization illustrates a unique psychological mechanism, each one of which could fill a textbook chapter on data psychology, most readers would be new to the overall concept of affective visualization. So it was more important to keep things light and memorable (and maybe a bit silly) than attempt to capture each concept in realistic detail. Instead we used “stylized” charts showing the application of these mechanics based on different absurd scenarios.
- Absurdity can be a useful communication tactic for winning over skeptics and increasing memorability (Arias-Bolzmann 2013). Given that dataviz is traditionally valued for its rational, sense-making benefits, but the article instead focuses on non-cognitive impacts that readers may be unfamiliar with, a more disarming approach should make these new concepts more palatable.
Digital and print copies of Nightingale Magainze are available from the Data Visualization Society here.