Data Visualization vs. Infographics

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

We rely heavily on sight. As such, a good portion of the information we consume each day comes to us in that form. In this lesson, we'll take a look at two important topics related to visuals: data visualization and infographics.

Learning Is Seeing

We see many things through the course of a day. In fact, much of what we learn comes to us in that fashion. Students receive daily lessons through words written on blackboards, overheads, and Internet webpages. Working people get information on their way to the job through newspapers, iPads, and cell phones. And businesses get information through software and webpages displayed on their computer screens. Clearly, visual media is important. But if it is so important, would there not be an area that deals with visual communication? Yes, there is. Two important topics in this area are data visualization and infographics.

What is Data Visualization?

Data visualization is the process of representing large amounts of information, in a visual form, that allows us to rapidly understand it. Charts, graphs, images, and movies are familiar examples. And because we rely on our vision so heavily, it makes sense to represent things in this fashion. Does a graph of blood sugar levels mean more to a doctor specializing in diabetes, than the set of numbers that were used to create it? Absolutely! Does a pie chart that displays area distribution mean more to the Director of Sales than the raw sales numbers? Without a doubt! Our reliance on vision means that we will favor information presented in this fashion.

Data Visualization Example

What are Infographics?

Infographics also aim to represent information in a visual form. And like data visualization, the goal is to make it quicker and easier to learn. Common examples include charts, graphs, and images. You may not know it, but infographics are everywhere. Every advertisement you see in a magazine, every pop-up you see on your computer, and every poster you see on a wall is an infographic. They are typically short, concise, and targeted, making them the perfect vehicle to capture your attention, inform you of important details, and sell you specific products.

Infographic Example

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