Final Group Project

Final Group Project.

Please see the above link to view our (Myself, Kristen, and Claudia) final graphic for Visual Communication.

 

My Personal Experience:

This visual was by no means an easy task to accomplish.  It required an extensive amount of preparation in terms of finding and grouping everything we learned this semester.  We were required to sacrifice some concepts that seemed to be a little more minor (we chose instead to include the umbrella idea that they fell under).  I enjoyed the challenge of having to include such a large amount of information in one graphic, and I feel that it was a nice way to conclude the class.  It was much more hands-on than a final exam can ever be (and less stressful in terms of cramming), and I feel it required us to absorb just as much material.  As for my group, I don’t think I could have been any luckier in terms of the people I worked with.  Kristen has amazing graphic design abilities that allowed us to take our graphic to a whole new level and Claudia was instrumental in terms of grouping the information and coming up with clever ways to chunk the information.  I was able to assist with grouping the information and helped to create some of the rough sketches for our graphic.  Kristen then put her amazing artistic capabilities to work, and you can see the final result.  I would definitely like to say thank you to my group for being so easy to work with.  It was a very satisfying experience.

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Multivariate Display

For the multivariate display I was hoping to create a graphic that would help students in the business school plan out their semester.  Unfortunately, only data for the Spring 2012 semester is available in terms of course posted online, so this graphic may be a little outdated for many students.  However, it could easily be updated next semester when the course schedules are first released to assist those students who need to plan for the Fall of 2012.  This graphic is intended for an audience that primarily consists of Freshman to Juniors (for Seniors it may be too late) because they have the most choice in what courses to take.  This graphic would best serve its purpose if it was in a completely digitized format, but for the sake of displaying the image each individual section was printed out.

When creating this graphic I ran into a few problems.  I chose to use this set of quantitative information because I had previously gathered it, and felt that it was relevant to other students in the business school.  It presents information that allows students to know how many of their major courses are being offered for the upcoming semester so that they can plan out other university requirements accordingly.  Despite the sheer timing of the graphic being a problem, I also had to decide what else to include to make this display helpful.  I felt the most logical choice would be the course requirements within each major, but I still wanted to include one more visual.  My “Aha” moment came when I realized that I hadn’t included anything about what this graphic was intended for: planning your schedule.  Therefore, I chose a flow chart to guide students through their selection process since flow charts are designed to show a process.  I do want to note that in the flow chart a Core Concentration may take importance over a minor, but that could be changed with a simple flip.  I also had trouble when creating the explanation graphic because I was not sure of the best way to make it multivariate.  I chose to go with a shadow on the page to make it stand out above the rest, but my shadowing ability may leave something to be desired.

This graphic contains quite a few theoretical principles that we have learned throughout the semester.  The most obvious application relates to Shriver’s model.  This graphic certainly uses dual coding since different information is being used, but the two types of information are complimentary.  Without the visual information, the text does not provide much information, and without the text there is no information presented in this display.  The one exception to Shriver’s model would be the explanation graphic by itself.  The visual is supplementary to the text in that the text still provides the user with the necessary information without the image.

Another theoretical principle presented in sections of this display is Occam’s Razor and Tufte’s Principle of Graphic Excellence.  The flow chart is the best example of these two principles.  There are many options for a student choosing classes no matter what their major, and showing each step in detail would require far too much ink and information.  Rather than expanding each step I recycled multiple steps along the way to allow for the most concise graphic that still provides the most information possible.  The two graphs also help to show the table in a way that helps to reduce the cognitive load by reducing the amount of information that the user must process.  The explanation graphic could use a little less information; it may have been more beneficial to group the requirements differently, but no matter what there was a lot of information necessary to present in that graphic.

If I had more time and resources for this multivariate display I would have included more information.  I would have created another explanation graphic that shows all of the classes offered under each major.  That would make the flow chart even more valuable because the students could then check their requirements and the classes that are available while going through their sign up process.  The graphs would still support the visual because the students would have a general idea of how many classes are offered prior to starting the process.  The one shortcoming this graphic would still have would be the lack of non-business school related courses, which are still very important in terms of graduating.  That would require even more information packed into this graphic, which my display did not have the space for.  The one other thing I would have done with more time is fixed up the explanation graphic to be a little easier to read.  I believe the best way to do this would be to list each class by class level and emphasize the classes that are offered this semester (that would also include the other information I hoped to include).  Overall this graphic provides a decent amount of information, but it could certainly be updated and become a very useful tool for the Fall of 2012 (since the information would be more up to date).

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Storyboards

Storyboards

My first narrative storyboard would best be titled, “The Big Game,” as it depicts a free kick during a soccer game that ultimately wins the game.  The second storyboard begins with a more somber mood, but it ultimately ends happily.  If I were to give it a title it would be, “Fearing the Worst” since it depicts a factory exploding, the aftermath, and ultimately a family being reunited.  Both storyboards are intended for a general audience, there is no specific target, and each story board is discussed in detail below.

For the first storyboard, I was attempting to tell the story of a pressure moment in a championship soccer game.  My starting visual does not exactly depict a situation that looks like a large scale event, but the children are standing in a wall formation, so I decided to add some meaning to the free kick.  The transition from the first image to the second image is best described as a subject to subject transition.  The only thing that happens is the point of view is drawn farther back to show the player who is about to take the free kick, but the same scene is still unfolding.  It is necessary for the reader to add some of the drama since the first visual does not seem like a very dramatic scene by itself (McCloud, 1994).  One problem that I had in creating this visual was including the children from the previous image.  I used some poor editing techniques, but if this were an actual storyboard it would certainly be more unified.  The next scene shows the ball about to be kicked, and transitions into the ball going over the goalie’s glove.  This would best be described as action to action because it is simply a progression of the subject (McCloud, 1994).  Ideally, there would be another step in the process to show the ball travelling in the air to the goal, but I only had four frames to work with and wanted to show the end effect of the scene.  The story concludes with the celebration of the team that just took the free kick.  Since soccer does not have sudden death, this would best be described as a scene to scene transition because time would have passed from when the goal was scored until the celebration (McCloud, 1994).

One major problem I encountered on the first storyboard was that I was trying to include too much information.  I initially chose to show a foul being committed and wanted to show a yellow card, but with only four images I would have needed an entirely different story.  I wanted to have some form of a “dramatic” conclusion that could still be understood, so I needed to sacrifice the set up.

For the second storyboard I wanted to tell the story of a factory explosion (much like the one in Japan) that was creating a problem with some form of lasting effects.  The first image shows the explosion, and then a day passes before the after effects are shown.  This transition would be a scene to scene as a significant amount of time has passed, and the place has changed (McCloud, 1994).  The story then transitions to a distant place where a man watching the story unfold on the news and is worried about people he knows in the area.  This transition is best described as a scene to scene because it is changing place and could be a different time.  However, it could also be taken as an aspect to aspect transition if it were the news showing the reaction of the people in the affected area and the reaction of the man looking on because it is showing different aspects of the overall mood (McCloud, 1994).  Finally, the story ends with the man being reunited with the people he knew that were near the area, finding them safe and sound.  This transition is a scene to scene because it is a week in the future and at a different location.

I had similar problems to the first storyboard in my construction of this one.  I knew which two images I wanted to connect, but I was not sure of the best way to use them.  My “Aha” moment came when I thought of putting them side by side as a man watching a story unfold in a different area.  I didn’t want to take a non-sequitur approach because I wanted my story to make sense, and a disaster was the easiest way to connect the two.  My other issue was finding images that would work for the story.  I would have preferred an image of a man being reunited with another person of the same age (rather than hinting at child labor), but in a real story I would have an artist draw a more appropriate image.

One visual communication theory that would apply to the creation of my two story boards would be dual coding.  For the most part it is inapplicable, but on the images that have time frames shown in words it creates complementary information.  Without the time cues it could be very difficult to understand what is going on in the second storyboard.

If I had more time and resources, I would have found more appropriate photos or used Photoshop.  In the first story I would have preferred matching teams (ignore the jerseys changing from blue shirts and white pants to white shirts and blue pants) and visuals showing a little more emotion.  In the second, it would have been nice to show the man watching a TV, or at least hint at a newscast.  Also, as I mentioned, I would have the reunion involve people of the same age rather than a family involving children.  Either that or I would have the children watching the news and the father returning home.  Overall, I think I was able to create two decent story boards, but with more resources I also would have added another image or two to each story.

 

References

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics. (First ed., pp. 70-72). NewYork, NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Image Sources:

Free Kick

http://www.google.com/imgres?start=21&num=10&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1360&bih=626&tbm=isch&tbnid=BWRlpvN5BP-WRM:&imgrefurl=http://www.seriousgoalkeeping.net/Tactics/FreeKicks/FreeKicksSettingUpTheWall.aspx&docid=ELlP3edvGbagvM&imgurl=http://www.seriousgoalkeeping.net/Tactics/FreeKicks/images/Direct_Free_Kick.png&w=280&h=280&ei=gVTUTqeoKYrs0gHRs_3fAQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=621&sig=102484904398388583749&sqi=2&page=2&tbnh=118&tbnw=115&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:18,s:21&tx=70&ty=63

Celebration

http://www.google.com/imgres?start=21&num=10&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1360&bih=626&tbm=isch&tbnid=BWRlpvN5BP-WRM:&imgrefurl=http://www.seriousgoalkeeping.net/Tactics/FreeKicks/FreeKicksSettingUpTheWall.aspx&docid=ELlP3edvGbagvM&imgurl=http://www.seriousgoalkeeping.net/Tactics/FreeKicks/images/Direct_Free_Kick.png&w=280&h=280&ei=gVTUTqeoKYrs0gHRs_3fAQ&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=621&sig=102484904398388583749&sqi=2&page=2&tbnh=118&tbnw=115&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:18,s:21&tx=70&ty=63

Explosion

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=factory+explosion&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1360&bih=626&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=Q2Uo3Zwk7AwakM:&imgrefurl=http://news.frbiz.com/nanjing_chemical_plant_explosion-364339.html&docid=Fz3fBJGynvvGcM&imgurl=http://img.frbiz.com/news/152574_s/Nanjing_Chemical_Plant_Explosion_residents_bolted_their_noses_and_midnight_Figure_chemical_plant_explosion_the_plastics_industry.jpg&w=300&h=202&ei=wVbUTuLvHaPd0QHFzOWDAg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=695&sig=102484904398388583749&page=4&tbnh=124&tbnw=155&start=55&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:55&tx=110&ty=78

 

Reunion

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1360&bih=626&tbm=isch&tbnid=VYZrJwDcm8iktM:&imgrefurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/photo_gallery/3155395.stm&docid=wG1NW9hr4r-24M&imgurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/39407000/jpg/_39407463_reunited_ap200.jpg&w=300&h=200&ei=MFjUTsyTNcL50gGc_omUAg&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=194&sig=102484904398388583749&page=1&tbnh=119&tbnw=173&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:0&tx=124&ty=64

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Tables and Graphs

Table and Graph of Business Classes Offered in the Spring of 2012

*Title of the Table is “Course Levels Offered Spring 2012 in the Gabelli School of Business”

For these graphs, I was attempting to communicate some quantitative information relating to classes being offered at the business school.  Utilizing the University Catalog and MyRWU’s “Search and Register for Classes” option, I compiled information relating to classes offered by each major in the Gabelli School of Business.  Being a senior who has lost out on multiple classes due to their lack of offerings, I felt it would be an interesting bunch of information to look at.  The purpose of the graph is to simply see the number of unique classes that are offered by major to see which major is offering its students the most opportunities in the spring of 2012.  The general research question for the graph is, what percentage of total classes are being offered by the business school for each major in the spring semester?

The audience for this graph would be any undergraduate students in the Gabelli School of Business who are interested in seeing how many classes are being offered in their major out of how many could have been offered.  This graphic would be most useful for sophomores and juniors, since they are at the point where they need to make decisions within their own major while balancing other interests (minors, core concentrations, interests, etc.)  Perhaps I am a slightly jaded senior, but I know of many people who have experienced similar issues that may find this table and its corresponding graphs interesting.

In creating this graph I began by counting the number of courses offered in the University Catalog under each major.  I knew this information would be valid because it is an official school document, but it is not free of shortcomings.  It is worth noting that this information may be slightly outdated and exclude certain special topics under each major.  It also does not take into account the core requirements within the business school that account for a lot of the earlier classes being offered.  I included the “Unique Courses” section to combat the issue of multiple sections for these core classes.  After finding the total possible classes I searched for classes and tallied up the total number under each course level (it was at this point that I also counted the number of unique courses).  I combined the information in the table and let Excel do the calculation for the percentage with a simple formula.  It was one of the few times in the process that Excel was useful to me.

Using Microsoft Excel to create this graphic saved me some time in terms of creating the graphic, but it also created multiple limitations (see the marked image).  Excel is great for storing information and performing calculations and look-ups, but its graphing and basic formatting gets very frustrating.  My first graph was simple in terms of the material presented.  It was just a percentage-based bar graph for how many classes were offered in the spring out of how many are in the catalog.  I was very upset that Excel would not show the chart 0-100%, and was unable to find a way to change that.  I included the data labels on the top of the graphs just because increments of ten make it difficult to see nuances.

In my second graph, I loved that Excel allowed me to make a stacked bar graph so that I could show multiple variables on the same graph.  This graph communicated a lot of information clearly, and most of my discrepancies were very nitpicky.  I can guarantee Excel saved me an extraordinary amount of time in creating this graph.  It was also extremely helpful in color coding because it created an image with colors that work well together and do not overpower or distract the user.  Finally, the pie graph was only included to show why a bar graph was the best option for presenting information from my table.  I chose a simple aspect of the table (total number of classes offered by major in the spring), and it still came out looking very poor.

Analyzing this table and graph in terms of Shriver’s Model it is clear that the information is complimentary.  Without the words on the graph it would be a bunch of nicely colored bars, and without the images the graphs don’t exist.  The table does not utilize dual coding, so it is easily understood with the words alone.  The more important analysis in this visualization is looking at Tufte’s Principles of Design Excellence.

Tufte’s general idea is that visualizations should convey the most information in the shortest time, in the smallest space, with the least amount of ink.  I can certainly say that my table could be a little more visually appealing, but I would not remove any information simply because it is all important in terms of understanding circumstances surrounding classes offered.  The two main graphs (ignoring the pie graph), however, exemplify Tufte’s principle.  The first graph is not as good of an example, mainly because it is displaying much less information.  It communicates the information in a clear manner, and the information is slightly complicated outside of graph form (requires the user to calculate percentages).  The second graph is the best example of Tufte’s principles.  The graph is multivariate in terms of what it is depicting, and it shows that information in the least amount of space possible.  Rather than putting multiple bars next to each other, the stacking allows the user to see each major in a flowing manner.  The colors are consistent on each level so that it is easy to follow, and the overall “truth” of the data is communicated (O’Connell, 2011).  I included my little nuance changes that could make the graphic a little better, but outside of the issues with Excel I was satisfied with the graphic.

My biggest issue in creating this graphic was formatting the document to print in Excel.  I also had trouble coming up with what information I was hoping to communicate with my table.  My “Aha” moment came after I finished my table and realized that showing the number of classes offered by class level may be more useful for the intended audience.  The first graph was a “nice to know” graph, whereas the second provides much more information to the user.

If I had more time and resources I would have added much more information to the table.  I would have compared the percentage of classes offered each semester for the past few years to show any potential changes (as well as explanations for classes that are offered in one semester due to being/requiring a prerequisite).  I also would have found a way to work with Excel’s formatting and made the images look less distorted, but that is Microsoft’s “user-friendly” software for you.

References

O’Connell, R. (2011, October). Designing of information. PowerPoint presented during class on the 27th of October 2011.

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Flow Chart

Buying a Book on Amazon Rough Draft

Buying a Book on Amazon Final Draft

My flow chart depicts the process of purchasing a book on Amazon.  It is intended primarily for an American audience, despite the fact that Amazon does do international business.  The diagram is appropriate for the US website, but this may not translate into other versions of the site.  The color scheme (discussed later) is also not necessarily appropriate for other cultures.  The diagram would prove to be most useful to a user with limited, or no, prior experience on Amazon’s website.

In this flow chart I am trying to provide the most detailed instructions possible for purchasing a book on Amazon without overwhelming the user.  I attempted to reuse steps when possible, and made sure to include every step of the process just to be sure the customer is able to complete a smooth transaction.  The biggest problem that I encountered was how to show all of the various options that a user has without creating an overcrowded graphic.  My first instinct was to branch out to each side, but I quickly realized that would lead to me a graphic that has a lot of white space in the middle.  My “Aha” moment came when I started thinking further ahead in the process.  No matter what route a user takes, they are going to need to add the item to their shopping cart at some point, and so I realized that was my chance to bring the graphic back to the middle.  The split to the outsides allowed me to show the information in separate planes so that it would be much easier to follow each path; but the unification of the two options at the shopping cart allowed my graphic to come back to the middle of the page and not waste space.

In terms of the actual process, I felt that a few decisions were worth noting.  With the popularity of e-books growing, I felt that adding the option of the Kindle version of a book would be a good idea.  For those of us that still appreciate the feel and smell of a new book, I was sure to include an option leading the user back to a physical book.  The one issue that including the Kindle created was that for those who are price sensitive, there is no option for buying a book if they do not like the Kindle price (since the Kindle is already equal or lesser in price to physical books).  I felt that the option, “Add to Wish List” was a nicer way of saying, “Tough break.”

Once the process reached the checkout it was pretty much self explanatory.  The only thing worth including in these steps was the process of creating an account.  It is probably a step that could have been omitted if I really wanted to save space since it is fairly self-explanatory, but I wanted to be thorough for those who are not tech-savvy.  This choice led me to have less space at the bottom of my flow chart, but I do not think it took away from my graphic.

In creating this graphic I used a few concepts that we learned in class.  In terms of Shriver’s model, I created a graphic with dual coding that is complimentary.  The text in the graphic provides the main ideas, and the images/illustrations tell the user which ideas to read next.  If all of the lines were removed from this graphic it would look like somebody started writing random thoughts all over a page.  It would be possible to figure out how to buy a book on Amazon, but the jumbled words would certainly be of no help.  In a similar manner, without the words this graphic looks like a poor art project.  When combined it is very easy to understand what this graphic is attempting to convey.

This graphic also employs the Principle of Parsimony.  Rather than having the user go through a bunch of extra steps, I attempted to recycle steps when possible.  The reusing of steps allowed me to ask the user if they were done shopping.  Not everybody is done shopping after finding just one book, so rather than having a redundant graphic the “no” option brings the user back to the top.  Some of my other decisions reused steps as well, but not to the extent of the “Done shopping?” option.

I also attempted to use color effectively in this graphic to reduce the user’s cognitive load.  I chose yellow to highlight the first step because it is the color that the eye is most drawn to.  Green was used to highlight the main path since it is a natural illuminant (O’Connell, 2011).  When a user deviates from the main path by selecting a “No” option I used a red-orange to show that they were proceeding horizontally on the same step rather than proceeding through the steps vertically.  Each decision point was marked in blue just so that the user could easily find all the decisions that need to be made.  Red was used for the end points because most Americans think of red as the color for “Stop.”  Otherwise, the process boxes were put in black just because they did not require any emphasis, and purple was used for manual operations just to show it was a little different than the black boxes.  For those people who understand the shapes these colors may not be necessary, but for an average user I felt that it could be helpful.

If I had more time and resources I probably would have included screenshots in creating this graphic.  I believe that my words provide more than enough information for the user to complete this process, but screenshots would have allowed me to save a few steps.  The only issue I see with screenshots is that they would take up more space, and may tempt the user to skip steps.  However, the visuals provided in a screenshot would likely make it easier to create a graphic that requires far fewer words.  I also would have included a title on the actual page of my graphic just in case it was ever separated from a webpage with text.  Otherwise, I was satisfied with the organization and information presented in my flow chart.

*I recently noticed that I forgot to include payment for these books.  I am so used to the automation of Amazon that I completely ignored this step.  This step could easily be combined with the “Select shipping” step, but colored pencil does not erase easily.

References

O’Connell, Roxanne. GHH 105, Bristol. September 15, 2011. In Person.

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Explanation Graphic

Original Graphic

Click image to link to site (Wikipedia, 2011).

Rough Draft Updated Graphic

Final Updated Graphic

In searching for a poor explanation graphic I stumbled upon Wikipedia’s visualization of Lake-effect snow.    Wikipedia’s page has plenty of information in its article relating to Lake-effect snow, but this illustration is the one that they chose to include as a way to explain the phenomenon.  Focusing on the image by itself, there is very little information portrayed in this graphic.  The image essentially shows clouds passing over water and dropping snow; it gives absolutely no explanation of temperature differences, and an ignorant user may think snow could happen anytime clouds cross lakes.  The caption of, “Lake-effect snow is produced as cold winds blow clouds over warm waters,” helps the image make more sense, but it still does not provide a lot of information about the effect (Wikipedia, 2011).  Finding this image away from Wikipedia (I originally located it during a Google image search), this graphic is practically useless unless you have an idea of what the graphic is describing.  In its context on Wikipedia this image and its caption are supplementary to each other, but they are very close to being complementary.  Without the text telling the user that the image is describing Lake-effect snow, it would be very difficult,but possible, to comprehend the image; but without the image the user could get the general idea of Lake-effect snow (hence the two being supplementary rather than complementary).

In my recreation of the image, I hoped to add a little more detail so that the graphic would not require an additional caption to be understood.  The image is intended for an audience that is specifically seeking to understand Lake-effect snow without reading an entire article about it.  My graphic provides the very basic concept of Lake-effect snow, but also goes one step forward in providing some of the more technical details such as the temperature differences, and the effects of distance traveled over water.

Beginning with the very bare bones of Lake-effect snow, I wanted to be sure to improve upon the original graphic.  The original explanation graphic completely neglects that Lake-effect snow starts with cold air moving in over the water prior to clouds forming.  I made sure to include the cold air coming in, and attempted to signify the air being cold by using the deep blue color.  I also wanted to show the clouds forming and growing larger as more moisture is absorbed into the air, simply because that has a big effect on whether it will snow or not.  My hope was that if the text was removed from my graphic the image could still be understood much easier than the original.  In visualizing this image without text, I believe it would be much easier to comprehend than the current one, but it would certainly be much less meaningful.  This may be due in part to the fact that images are limited in the amount of abstraction that they can convey (Oberlander & Stenning, 1997).  Since I was attempting to add additional detail to this graphic, text was a necessity in my design process.

The text that I included in this image was primarily to explain some of the more technical details of Lake-effect snow.  I included information such as air must travel at least 100km over water to produce any sort of Lake-effect precipitation, temperature instability typically only occurs at a minimum of 1.5km, and that the farther air travels over water the more snow will be produced (Wikipedia, 2011; Geerts, 1998).  I could not think of any way to show this information without text, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  The other use of text was in a redundant way to further explain the images.  I did this to help both comprehension and retention for viewers.  When text is used in a purely redundant manner it is easier to store in memory, which applies to this graphic in terms of understanding the very basics discussed above (O’Connell, 2011b).  However, when focusing on explaining the more technical aspects of Lake-effect snow, text and images are used in a supplementary way to help users to more fully comprehend the information presented (Thomas, 2010).  I would expect a user of this graphic to remember that Lake-effect snow is caused by cold air moving across warmer water, but I would not expect them to remember the specific details relating to temperature, height, and distance.

I would say the one major problem that I had in creating this graphic was deciding how to portray the most information possible in the easiest way possible.  I was essentially attempting to meet Tufte’s principles of graphical excellence in creating a graphic that presents the most information possible, in the smallest space, using the least amount of ink (O’Connell, 2011a).  I wanted to include as much technical information as possible without weighing down the graphic with bunches of text.  My “Aha” moment of sorts was to arrange the image into a graph-like layout.  I have the vertical axis showing the height of the air over water that the Lake-effect snow process begins at, and the horizontal axis showing the distance the air is traveling and the amount of potential snow produced.  If I had more time and resources I would have tried to include even more detail relating to the Lake-effect process, but that likely would have required big blocks of text.  I would have needed to break the process into steps, but then I would need to decide what details belong in what step.  I also would have included the title “Lake-effect snow” if I had more space; otherwise without this image appearing on another webpage it may not make sense.  Overall, I am satisfied with the amount of information I was able to present using the one flowing image and a limited amount of text.

References

Geerts, B. (1998, December). Lake-effect snow. Retrieved from http://www-                das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/notes/chap10/lake_effect_snow.html

Oberlander, J., Stenning, K. (1997). A cognitive theory of graphical and linguistic reasoning: Logic and implementation. . Cognitive Science, Retrieved from            http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.35.4190&rep=rep1&type=pdf

O’Connell, R. (2011a, October). Designing of information. PowerPoint presented during class on the 27th of October 2011.

O’Connell, R. (2011b, October). Information Graphics. PowerPoint presented during class on the 27th of October 2011.

Thomas, N. (2010). Mental imagery. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2010, Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mental-imagery/theories-memory.html

Wikipedia. (2011, October 25). Lake-effect snow. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake-effect_snow

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How to Make a Pizza

First Draft

Final Draft

In this illustration I was attempting to depict how to make a homemade pizza to somebody from a completely different culture with no knowledge of our language or symbols.  In order to accomplish this, I needed to rely largely on sensory codes that are universally understood.  Unfortunately, my poor drawing ability certainly did not help me in executing this as effectively as I would have hoped.  To begin, I first needed to find a recipe for pizza.  I felt it would be harder to explain pizza dough than it would be to have the person make it from scratch.  I am unaware of any brand name pizza dough, and somebody that does not understand our language or symbols would die of hunger before being able to find it in a grocery store.  The pizza sauce I probably could have just used a brand name of marinara sauce, but homemade food always tastes better.

During the process of finding the recipes for both pizza dough and sauce I experienced my “Aha” moment.  I knew I would have to organize this process into something that could easily be understood, but it also had to show that these two items go together.  If I had the person first make the dough and then make the sauce I would still need to show him/her how to combine the two.  If I did this in a linear model I would wind up with my first draft (see photo) where I would have long arrows that make the image difficult to follow.  However, if I kept the two processes next to each other and then had them proceed linearly together, it would be much easier to comprehend.  I figured once the sauce and dough are made the only issue is combining the two and adding toppings, which created only one large arrow in my final drawing.

Even though I was on a roll with the cooking process, I quickly realized that just explaining the ingredients would lead to somebody with a bowl full of something that would only turn into a mess if put into the oven.  I realized that I needed cooking instruments in the how-to graphic.  This was where my largest issue arose: how do I explain specific measurements to somebody that does not understand our codes?  My only hope was to write the numbers that will be on all of the measuring instruments that the person uses when making his/her pizza.  This was the most effective way I could think of since I have yet to see a measuring instrument without some sort of number written on it.  Then, rather than writing “two cups” I was able to depict two physical cups that would be a little easier to match up since it would only require matching the volume of the cup.  I did my best to show size differences between the cups and spoons just so the person would have the general idea of what measuring instrument is bigger than the other.  From there, I figured he/she could match the symbols to my drawing so that measuring the ingredients would not be difficult.

In terms of marking the ingredients, I relied heavily on pictures and brand names.  I wanted to show that flour is made of wheat, but I believe that the actual brand “Gold Seal” would be easier to recognize in a store.  Similarly, my “Hunts” tomato paste shows a tomato, but the extra name would be helpful on a shopping trip.  I did my best to use sensory codes and keep colors and shapes accurate, but, as I mentioned before, my drawing ability is slightly lacking.

My other major issue was depicting areas where the maker has a decision as to what to include.  Once the pizza has cheese on it, it is technically complete, unless somebody wants more toppings.  My hope was that the two arrows would depict that you can skip a step, but that may not necessarily translate into what I was hoping for.  In all other areas I tried to cover as many bases as possible (depicting both an oven and writing 400 degrees, as well as writing 20 minutes and showing what 20 minutes is on a clock).  Finally, I included the final step showing a satisfying result.  I even gave the person the option to order a pizza if they are unfortunate and end up with a sub-par pizza (the lazy person’s how-to make a pizza).

Throughout this whole process I was doing my best to think of ways to decrease the cognitive load by using as accurate symbols as possible.  I tried to keep sensory codes such as color, size, and shape as close to the real item in hopes that it would allow for easier processing.  By combing these inputs, along with adding the brand names, I believe I packed enough sensory data into the sensory processing stage to allow for my message to be received easily.   As long as my drawings were somewhat accurate, I would allow the user to narrow the possibilities and hopefully reach the outcome that I had been imagining.  The measuring instruments certainly added to the cognitive load, but I felt that it was a necessary evil because otherwise the user would likely ask for a “How to clean your oven” graphic.

If I had more time and resources I would have likely split the graphic into three parts.  Rather than just having the dough making process and the sauce making process running parallel I would add the toppings process in a third column of sorts.  That way everything would progress in a nice linear fashion, and everything could cumulate into a pizza that is ready for the oven.  Then, all that I would have left would be the bottom row of my current image.  In my opinion this would have made explaining the options of toppings a little easier, but I worked with my space and I think I could help somebody create something that resembles (and hopefully tastes like) a pizza.

Recipes compliments of:

Dough

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,2341,157183-233201,00.html

Sauce (manipulated slightly)

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/easy-pizza-sauce-iii/detail.aspx

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