Manning and Amare- Visual Ethics

This article begins by talking about 3 different strategies for that can be used. These 3 strategies are decorative, informative, and indicative. Decorative strategies are used for evoking emotion. Typeface is an example of this. Ethical concerns come from this because making something overly decorated can take away from the information that comes from the visual. Indicative strategies are used to make somebody do something. And example of this would be bulleted lists or arrows because it provokes action.The authors explain that because this is promoting action, that indicative strategies have to really be aware of ethical concerns. Forcing something to do something without consent can be a breach of ethics. Informative strategies are used to promote understanding. Charts and graphs are an example of this because they help viewers to understand information. The article explains that ethics become a concern when decorative and indicative strategies get in the way of informative strategies. They don’t want the color and the font to be a distraction from the actual information that is being presented. The reading also explained that many people find a problem with Power Point because of this. In this article it says that the decorative strategies used by Power Point really take away from the information being presented. Basically, there needs to be a good balance.

I think this is a good example of a graphic being too focus on aesthetic appeal. This article just has a cool color scheme but it does not offer any real information. The text is very limited and there doesn’t even seem to be a point to it. But the color is engaging and draws a viewer in making them think they they learned something when they really did not.


According to the last article we read by Dragga and Voss, we need to humanize our visuals by adding in more visual graphics. This article today says not to go over the top, and that the information is key. Is there a trick to finding a balance? Or is one actually more important than the other?

Dragga and Voss

For the reading today ethical concerns were a large focus. The article talked about how illustrations, like bar graphs, pie charts, and photos are included in almost all technical publications. Illustrations are encouraged and even substituted for text. These illustrations can make it easier for a viewer to understand and digest. However, there is a problem with these illustrations because they can be seen as deceptive and unethical. The article gives several examples of data that is humane versus data that is not humane. The article explains that graphics often create limited understanding and often dehumanize the content that they are representing. There are a several examples in this article where they talk about good examples of graphics that are used in a more ethical way. This article also explains that in order to be more ethical, there needs to be more sensitivity to the human aspect of the graphics. An example of how a graphic is unethical was the one where the reading  talked about how the Nazis made a diagram in order to classify people by their race. The reading basically in order to ethically depict information, the information needs to be humanized. Too often graphics are emotionless and don’t show the human implication behind the numbers that are being shown. The reading explains some possible solutions to this would be to add in pertinent pictures that would emphasize humanity and not make the statistics so impersonal.


I believe that this would be an example of a graphic that would be considered inhumane. This graphic is straight up presenting data. There is no show of the human implications that come with cancer and other diseases. There is no impertinent pictures that show the human struggle of having a disease. So, as far the the reading is concerned this picture would be considered cruel and unethical.

Question for class: Can a graphic that shows data still be considered ethical if it presents data in a way that is not considered “humanized”? What are some other elements that make a graphic ethical?

Kostelnick- 11/4

In this article titled “The Conundrum of Clarity” Kostelnick explains that the visual rhetoric of data displays has changed a lot of the years. Kostelnick really focuses on how the role of clarity when it come to data displays. In several different sections he further explains the context of clarity. Rhetoric of science, rhetorical adaptation, social rhetoric, and rhetoric of participation were the main sections in the article. Rhetoric of science focuses on how crisp, easy to read data makes for a more universal understanding of data. Data displays that are not confusing or have too much going on make it much easier for many people to understand what is happening. Rhetorical adaptation explained how data displays can be understood and interpreted based on a certain rhetorical situation. Further, people from interpretative backgrounds will not all understand the data the same way. The section on social rhetoric explained that how people come to interpret something a certain way is a very important aspect to consider. This section also explained that were are not born knowing how to read charts and graphs and people have varying abilities to do so depending on the discourse community they are involved in. Rhetoric of participation explained how data displays were going to continue to change of the years due to technological advances.

This pie chart is an example of a data visual that is lacking in clarity. The colors are aesthetically pleasing, however it is hard to understand what they are talking about because there is a lot going on. It is also confusing to me as a viewer because I don’t know much about computers. So this is a good example of data being able to be understood by people who are from different interpretive frameworks. This is a good example of how clarity is not universal.

pie chart

Question for class: How important is it to focus on trying to make some clear and easy to understand for a wide audience? Is it more important to know your audience and build something that can be understood based on their interpretive background?

Tufte- 10/30

For the readings today, I belive that the author used the examples about cholera and the Challenger disaster in order to show that there can be right and wrong ways to show visual data and evidence. The example of Jon Snow with cholera was a successful one because he had a good idea, and he had a good method for presenting his data. Jon snow was able to successfully show that infected water, food, and sewage is what is the cause of cholera. On the other hand, it appears that the example of the Challenger Disaster was not successful presentation of data. The administration did not believe that the engineer had sufficient evidence to prove that the O rings could have any sort of disaster. Overall, I thought this article was pretty dense and rather boring, but the main point that I got from this reading was that it is really important to have an effective way for presenting data visually. However, I still think the example of the challenger was more of a political move, rather than it just being about the administration not believing that the data showed sufficient evidence.

I belive that this reading was meant to show us that is important to present visual data that is clear to understand and presents information in a way that is correct and valid. I think that this picture is a good visual example of that. This graphic says that information must make sense, not just look good. So, this is a good real life example to look at for this class. Although this graphic isn’t directly linked with the main point of this article, I think it is useful for us as students to remember this going forward because you don’t want to focus too much on the visual appeal of your graphic and forget that valid information is just as important.


Question for the class: When presenting statistics, how much effort should be put into visual appeal? In other words, how much does visual appeal matter if the most important part is the data?


For the readings today, I have chosen to focus on just chapter 1. This chapter talks about the difference between infographics and data visualizations and also why infographics work. To begin with, data visualizations are those that represent numerical values, charts, and graphs. Together, they create a picture from a set a data. Viewers are able to easily see the overall picture that is being represented. Data visualizations are an effective way to communicate because they use a large set of numbers in a small space, making them very space efficient. In comparison, infographics are a larger design that combines data visualizations, illustration, text and images. Infographics tell a complete story. According to this chapter, the best infographic is more like an article or speech and it tells a complete story. They inform, entertain, or persuade an audience. Infogrpahics also have introductions that tells the viewer why they should read the infogrpahic. Infographics also have a call to action, which tells the viewer to do something. A good infographic should be engaging and tell a complete story. There are several different types of infographics ranging from static infographics to video infogrpahics. This chapter also explains that the use of pictures helps people remember information at a rate that is astronomically higher than just reading text alone. This is because vision is the strongest way that we use to perceive the world around us. This chapter also explains how people how so much information at their fingertips. People are constantly looking for information and information is constantly being thrown at people. This has led to a rise in big data, which some people see as good, and some people see as bad.

I think a real life example of a good infogrpahic would be this coca-cola example. This infographic has an introduction at the top about why the viewer should read this infographic. It also gives the viewer at lot of information about what coke does to you after you drink it. It also incorporates a picture of a can of coke which will help viewers to remember what they are seeing, which is much better than just using text alone. And it also has a subtle call to action through talking about the negative effects that drinking soda have on you.


Question for class: Do you think that the use of animated/video infographic are more effective than static inforgraphics? Why or why not?

Paik & Schraw

For the reading today, the authors talk about how animation can have positive and negative effects. To begin with , the authors explain that some of the negative effects of animation include impeding learning, and causing a viewer to have an illusion of understanding and animation is actually is a detriment when it comes to actually learning how to do something. The authors also explain that there are two different types of animation. There is representational animation and directive animation. Representational animation is used to illustrate the content of a presentation. Representational animation is used to help a viewer to form a mental visualization that can’t be inferred with just a static image. Directive animation is used to direct a viewers attention to a particular piece of an image. Directive animation has been used to help a viewer quickly identify a component of an image. These are both supposed to help used in order to enhance learning. The authors talk about how adding animation to multimedia presentations can cause leaners to overestimate how easily it is to comprehend how to do something. The viewer may overestimate how much they really understand the information being presented to them. Because our brains do not have to work that hard to understand the information, the viewer isnt understanding it as fully as it would without animation. The authors did a study about their hypothesis when it comes to the illusion of understanding, it showed that their hypothesis about representational animation made for an illusion of understanding when it comes to low prophecieny learners. And they found that overall, representational and directive animation was a lot more complex than just the illusion of understanding hypothesis

As an example I thought of the animated presentation on how to do CPR. I thought that it was an effective tool to really understand how to do CPR. I like how it showed you exactly what to do, as well as, what the right way was. When I study this infographic about how to do CPR, I don’t feel like I understand it nearly as much as I did when it comes to the animated version about how to do CPR. However, according to the authors I may be tricking myself into thinking that it is much easier to actually do CPR. I did not feel that the animation made me over-confident about what I was doing, but it made me feel a lot more comfortable about being able to do it.

CPR infographic

Question for class: Can you think of an example where you felt that you had a better understanding of how something worked through the use of a static image rather than through the use of animation?

Ingold- Chapter 6

For this chapter, Ingold talks about how lines became straight. To be completely honest, I thought this chapter was very boring and I didn’t really understand the purpose of it. However, I belive that the overall point of it was to show how lines can be related to life. In this chapter, Ingold talks about guidelines and plotlines. Ingold explains that straight lines can be categorized into guidelines and plotlines.To be honest, I didn’t completely understand what he was talking about here and I would like to know more about that. Ingold also talked about the use of a ruler.Ingold explains that a ruler plots the course of action that should be taken, and that a ruler can also be used to make a straight line. So they are connected in that sense. Ingold also explains in the breaking up section that straight lines are seen as having a certainty, reason, and a sense of direction. But then goes on to explain that throughout the 20th century, reason has been used for unjust causes. In conclusion, he relates lines to life and goes on to say that lines are open-ended just like life is. He states that the line, just like life, has no end. Ingold finished it up by saying that the final destination is not important, but rather the interesting things that happen along the way.

An example of the meaning straight lines can have is the photo. In this photo, these are basically just arrows pointing in different directions that look like they are written on a chalkboard. However, when I see this picture I see a man who is contemplating the different paths he can take in life. So these lines are not seen as a man standing next to arrows on a chalkboard,  but rather as a man who is contemplating his path in life.


Question for the class: Why are straight lines seen as more dominant in comparision to curved lines? Does that also relate to a life example in some way?