Visual Literacy


Visual literacy is becoming more important as we try to deal with complexity. Words seem to fail us when we face the task of communicating the nature of systems that are not only complex but also in constant change.

I would like to propose that our human understanding of complex systems is heavily dependent on our ability to communicate complexity in a form that is easy to understand.

Edward Tufte has enlightened quite a bit of people in the design field into how we have been visualizing complex information across the ages. Tufte’s books are not a bad place to start for those innovators that want to advance the way we visualize systems. But we may want to consider asking Tufte ā€“ (and others that want to compliment Tufte’s work) ā€“ to focus on systems theory, emergence and complexity as theories that may inform the development of future systems visualization.

Once we integrate science and information design, graphic design and human factors perhaps we can finally move beyond the simple pie chart and the line graphs into dynamic graphical systems that take into consideration, multiple system relationships, time and context among other variables ?

Books on the subject
Arguably one of the best books on the topic of information visualization:
Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference by Robert L. Harri

Thinking Like Einstein: Returning To Our Visual Roots With The Emerging Revolution In Computer Information Visualization. By Thomas G. West.

Books by Tufte >>

Related elsewhere on the web:

Understanding USA >>an effort to make public information usable?

Information visualization services
Dynamic Diagrams has been diagraming information for more than 5 years that I know of >>


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