Academic journal article Visible Language

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, & Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations

Academic journal article Visible Language

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, & Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations

Article excerpt

Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, & Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations isabel Meirelles Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers, 2013.

For a complementary perspective of this book, please refer to the review written by Aaron Marcus in the Information Design Journal 20(3), 296-297

The book is a thorough representation of both the field of information visualization and the research interests of the author, whose focus is on "the theoretical and exper- imental examination of the fundamentals underlying how information is structured, represented and communicated in different media."

Beginning by the "big picture," the book includes an amazing collection of examples, the most thorough I have seen to date in a volume. The author organizes the content according to several categories represented by the titles of the chapters: 1) Hierarchical structures: trees; 2) Relational structures: networks; 3) Temporal structures: timelines and flows; 4) Spatial structures: maps; 5) Spatio-temporal structures; and 6) Textual structures. An appendix, notes, bibliography, contributors list, and index, complete the apparatus of the book.

Design for information is an extensive taxonomy of data visualization types, and is "a must" for anybody interest- ed in the work done in the area. Each one of the hundreds of examples is explained and discussed, forming a kind of encyclopedia on the subject. It seems that nothing escaped from the through gathering of examples that Meirelles got involved in. The discussions and explanations normally focus on what information is represented and how it is represented.

It is interesting to see as well how many different professional fields use today diagrams to organize and represent information: basic science, applied science, education, engineering, medicine, technologies, etc. The value of the book is centered on the inclusion of examples of how many different problems are today being confronted by data visualizations, how many historical efforts preceded whatsoever is done today, and how the advent of the computers have allowed the field to explode, handling large data sets as well as dynamic representations. …

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