What is Information Visualization?

Information visualization is the graphical representation of technical, often complex data that is designed to be understood quickly and easily by the layperson. Popularly called “infographics, ” this type of media is highly valuable in the age of ubiquitous knowledge, and the people who create it are equally desired by organizations seeking to share messages that make an impact. A well-designed infographic can illuminate facts buried in the pages of a dense report or text, or explicate a detailed concept, such as an underground transit system, with clarity and simplicity. The modern age is embracing the power of design to engage and inform audiences through infographics, and social media is the vehicle to take them viral, making information more relevant and accessible on a global level. For teaching and learning, the study of infographics covers a number of valuable skills relating to data analysis, design thinking, and contextual, inquiry-based research, not to mention the technical capacities required to carry out ideas using creative software. Information visualization will continue to capture the imaginations and attentions of scientists, designers, and audiences, while carving its niche as a 21st century discipline.