"... it's what we do with that information that matters... "
In our capacity as data animators we often need to explain to our clients that what you see ISN'T always what you get, and that information isn't neutral; the meaning that you derive from it - and hence the actions that you take - depend on how that information is presented, and how you interact with, and explore, the information.
This is often hard for our audience to understand and, in some cases, they disagree with us - sometimes rigorously! Our challenge at times, therefore, is to convince an understandably skeptical audience that data and information are massively affected by context.
As such, we are always seeking new ways to explain the capabilities - and limitations - of human visual perception. This is a fast-evolving field, inspired by many disciplines including psychology, neuroscience and computer science, notably robotics and artificial intelligence.
The TED talk below (TED talks being a favourite source of ours for stretching our thinking, and dipping our animator's toes in the waters of unknown subjects) illustrates beautifully how visual perception is utterly context-sensitive. Watch out for the headline of this blog, arriving at 4:28...
Even the most hardened skeptic has to agree that Beau Lotto presents plenty of evidence for both the sophistication, and frailty, of visual perception.
Now, perhaps it would be a good idea to remove the gradient background of that latest dashboard report?