Michael Babwahsingh’s breakdown of information design

Sheila Pontis was mentioned a recent discussion in her blog post explaining what information designers do. The recent discussion she was referring to was from Michael Babwahsingh, and he mentions that “there is yet no single, widely-accepted definition of information design”.  I found two interesting points Babwahsingh makes that I agree with. The points he raises in the first quote is probably one of the reasons why I’m feeling a bit lost with my project at the moment. I had trouble figuring out what key industry players I can contact for my feedback

2. There are no clear professional boundaries around information design.

What was once an unrecognized field with relatively anonymous and unwitting practitioners is now a diverse constellation of fields brimming with their respective experts, gurus, and evangelists. As the picture grows more crowded, the interrelationship of players becomes more fuzzy. What hierarchies and connections exist among the more popularized realms of practice?:

  • Data Visualization
  • Infographic Design/Illustration
  • Visual Thinking
  • Information Architecture

I found this quote to be true judging by the feedback I received in week two – this infographic that I sketched out and only digitized half of got the most praise out of all of my prototypes. However the praise related to the visuals and not the content. A lot of infographics and data visualisations are designed to be visually pleasing. I found this while looking at various elaborate data visualisations myself as I couldn’t read or understand the content it was trying to get across, but as a visual they looked stunning.

3. More emphasis is on execution and visual appeal than analysis.

Armed with an array of sophisticated tools, today’s visualization professionals can readily gather raw content and produce a multitude of views showing as many diverse perspectives as graphic treatments. But the real usefulness of many of these outputs is questionable, as function takes a back seat to form and process yields to product.

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