the sally sisson blog


April 1, 2012

Foolish Infographics (April Fool’s edition)

I’m always on the lookout for good infographics. As a “visual learner” and follower of trends in information design, I’m both delighted and bemused by the daily flood of data visualization on the Internet. Often I’m more enamored with the execution than with the content itself, so when I come across a silly “mock” infographic, the joke’s on me.

Here are some of my favorites:

Infographic: Mr T Pie Chart

Mr T Pie Chart via ScienceDump

 

Ben Greenman’s Charts About Graphs and Graphs About Charts

This series on McSweeney’s is funny and spot-on. My top picks:

Infographic from McSweeney's

Graph #1 by Ben Greenman

 

Infographic from McSweeney's

Graph #16 by Ben Greenman

 

 

Infographic from McSweeney's

Graph #8: Special East Coast Hurricane Edition

For more funny examples, check out:

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Ben Greenman’s Graphs About Charts and Charts About Graphs

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December 1, 2011

Web content and the eternal home page question: How much is too much?

 

education websites | xkcd venn diagram

I love this Venn diagram by xkcd. It was projected on the wall at the start of a Future M seminar I attended this September called “Beyond the University Website – The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.” This image keeps coming back to me, in content decisions for both edu and B2B.

Sponsored by ISITE Design, and moderated by chief strategy officer Jeff Cram, the panel included Mike Petroff, Web and Technology Enrollment Manager at Emerson College; Perry Hewitt, Chief Digital Officer at Harvard; Gene Begin, Digital Marketing Director at Babson College; and Tom Baird, Vice Chancellor of University of Michigan Dearborn.

Content Overload? It’s all about balance.

I’ve been working on content strategy, optimization, writing and editing for an independent preK-8 school website this year and am about to begin on one for an independent high school. Funny how, regardless of the size of the school, the home page issues always seem to be the same.

How to balance content for current vs. prospective students and constituents? How many news feeds, blog feeds, photo and video galleries do you really need? How can we make sure it’s all optimized for search? What is the true purpose of the home page anyway? How much is too much?

I’m knee-deep in content migration from one CMS to another on the above mentioned website, but once I come up for air I’ll grapple with this question some more. Got any formulas for success? Would love to hear them.

FutureM wrap-ups:

Here are a couple good summaries of the FutureM seminar, along with some choice tweets on CMS quandries (as universal as the homepage ones, it seems to me), mobile stats for edu, and the need for social strategy:

Open Parenthesis: Future M on Higher Education
post by John Eckman of ISTE

Inside FutureM: Digital Marketing and Higher Education
post by Erik Devaney on New England Post

 

 

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November 11, 2010

Graphic novel of Dante’s Divine Comedy triumph of information design–and editing

dante-splsh

This entertaining review in PopMatters made me want to run out and buy the book.

It tells how illustrator and graphic designer Seymour Chwast condensed Dante’s epic 14,000-line allegory to under 120 pages, producing an accessible visual adaptation, complete with diagrams to explain the intricate circles and steps in the author’s imagined world.  The approach is quirky and playful, while still capturing the spirit of Dante’s daunting prose.

This is neither a dumbed-down, Reader’s Digest treatment nor a substitute for reading the 14th century classic. Rather, consider it a wayfinding guide to the real thing.

“Film noir, Marc Chagall and children’s picture books are among the sources which inform Chwast’s art, drawn in pure black and white, which presents Dante as a trench-coated, pipe-smoking private investigator, Virgil as a proper old-school English gentleman with a bowler hat and cane and Beatrice as a blonde, pin-curled beauty…”

“This is a true adaptation, not a translation, and one in which the graphics do more of the storytelling than the text. Chwast’s illustrations carry the main content of the Divine Comedy while the cantos have been greatly shorted and translated into modern prose.” — Sarah Boslaugh

Read the full review here:

‘Dante’s Divine Comedy,’ from a Left-Handed Designer

For more insight into the creative process, in Chwast’s own words, see this from Huffington Post: Divine Comedy as Graphic Novel


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