One of the best way to learn new things is through imitation.
Learning to play an instrument? Copy what your teacher does!
Learning to paint? Try painting in the style of a famous artist.
Learning to dance? Watch some videos on YouTube and attempt to replicate it in the comfort of your home.
That’s why, as I’m trying to become better at infographics, I really appreciate Nathan Yau’s guides over at FlowingData.com. Recently he had a great guide on how to create a ‘treemap’. I used slightly different variables (blog title, category, visitor time per post) and ended up with the following:
The consistently helpful Nathan Yau at FlowingData posted a brief tutorial this week on how to make heatmaps quickly. I had a play given that the UK government launched the surprisingly useful and well thought-out data.gov.uk recently!
Here’s what I came up with:
(yes, I too was surprised that the North East leads the way in number of students gaining 5 or more A*-Cs!) :-p
All that glitters is not gold, and not everything that looks pretty is an infographic. For example here’s a visualization of my recent connections on Twitter using mentionmap:
This looks good but isn’t very really very revealing. I’m well aware that I’ve been tweeting about tomorrow’s EdTechRoundUp TeachMeet (#TMETRU09) and with the people featured in orange. That’s why this is a visualization. It’s a pretty rendition of stuff I already knew.
TweetStats, however, produces something more revelatory:
We’ll ignore the fact that the service has mis-reported early 2009. 😉
What’s interesting is that this reveals something. It shows when I tend to tweet, how often I’ve done so in various months. There are other graphs beside these that give other interesting details.
Herein lies the difference between visualizations (uses non-numerical, qualitative stuff to represent something already known) and infographics (uses quantitative data to show or reveal something new).