Navigating information anxiety by weighing variables as design choices

Considering ethics, understanding and integrity when it comes to time to determine an appropriate data-ink ratio for both your piece and your audience seems highly complicated. Given the sheer number of variables/channels/considerations, it would be easy to become overwhelmed when describing data visualization alone. I especially like the writing that identified how tempting it is to produce “hard and fast rules” for expressing data, only to clarify that this is inadvisable and arguably, lazy. The most important thing I’ve learned about analysis and art is that both should take longer than you think to produce anything of merit and providing transparency in your process is maybe the only reproducible method of building any “rhetoric of plausibility”.

In the end, it comes down to the goals of your work. The information anxiety created when presented with so many moving parts can be more easily navigated by focused on the  goals of your work. If your goal is to convince someone of your argument, then transparency and context are needed for anyone who will look at your work with a critical eye. In this goal, substance is the most important element to your work. If your goal is to reach a wider audience, quickly, then you will be looking more at elements of perception and taste.I find arguing about taste is useless, but when taste can be reframed as “usefulness”, the concept can become more accessible to audiences that may otherwise object to the idea of objective “taste”.

Show Comments