Unempathetic and Inhumane Charts and Graphs

Today’s readings focus primarily on how even though charts, graphs, and other technical visual displays of information can be very good at displaying and conveying information, they can fall short regarding producing true feelings in the viewer. I am going to keep this summary section relatively brief as I feel that I have a strong connection section to really connect with the reading and drive home my point. The first of our readings today was “Cruel Pies: The Inhumanity of Technical  illustrations” by Sam Dragga and Dan Voss. It focused on creating humanistic ethics within visuals and offered several different potential solutions to try and create those feelings. The second reading was “DataViz—The UnEmpathetic Art.” This one was an interesting read. It showed several examples of when data visualizations created or at least are on he right track to creating a sense of empathy in the reader. The gun death one, although I personally disagree with the premise, is interactive and presented well.

A possible, and probable, solution to visual displays of data not creating empathetic feelings in the viewer is providing music that evokes the emotion, while displaying the data. This would not work in every single situation as audio can not always be provided with a visual infographic, but when it can, like in videos, It can be a powerful tool. I have presented this animated Infographic from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, that uses music to help evoke certain feelings in the audience. I think the person who put this up on YouTube changed the music for copyright reasons, because the original music in the actual exhibit is a somber rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Me personally, I had many sympathetic and empathetic feelings, when watching this in the museum for the first time, and I believe the music is mostly to be credited in that respect. I have attached the link below that takes you to a YouTube version of the actual exhibit. It is not quite as good as the real thing, but it will at least help me get my point across.

Other than possible ways mentioned in the readings and the way I have mentioned, Are there any other ways to convey the true desired sense of emotion that an informational visual display can lack?


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