Visual reasoning through information design

El razonamiento visual a partir del diseño de información

Mapping Complex Information. Theory and Practice

On the left are three problem figures that are a related series. On the right are three answer figures, one of which is the fourth of this series. Can you induce the remaining answer figure?Visual Induction Problem: On the left are three problem figures that are a related series. On the right are three answer figures, one of which is the fourth of this series. Can you induce the remaining answer figure? (Based on McKim, 1980)

The visual communication of complex or less known topics (e.g. science, medicine, mathematics) in simpler and clearer ways appeals to users and readers’ visual reasoning. Visual reasoning is the process of both analysing information presented in visual form (e.g. pictures, diagrams, drawings) and solving problems based on visual logic combining verbal, mathematical and visual analysis. As with other types of reasoning, McKim (1980) explains that visual reasoning can be deductive: we move from abstract to concrete ideas (e.g. reconstructing an image when a part is missing). Or it can be inductive: we start with concrete visuals or images, and need to figure out the underlying abstract principles or ideas.

We all think visually: e.g. we…

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EL paso del tiempo y su impacto en la tierra.

Las nuevas tecnologías de la imagen (como: Timelapse) nos permiten ver en pocos segundos lo que ha ocurrido en largos periodos de tiempo vean este fascinante trabajo que está haciendo la NASA, con Google y los datos de la encuetsa de geolocalización de U.S.A así como el CREATE Lab de Carnegie Mellon University

A Terrifying, Fascinating Timelapse of 30 Years of Human Impact on Earth

A new interactive project from Google, NASA and the US Geological Survey.


Since the 1970s, NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have been amassing satellite images of every inch of our planet as part of the Landsat program. Over time, the images reveal a record of change: of cities expanding, lakes and forests disappearing, new islands emerging from the sea off the coast of rising Middle East metropolises like Dubai.

If you could thumb through these historic pictures as if in a flip book, they would show stunning change across the earth’s surface, in both our natural environments and our man-made ones. Now, the digital equivalent of that experience is possible – three decades of global change as GIF – in a project unveiled today between NASA, the USGS, TIME, Google, and the CREATE Labat Carnegie Mellon University.

Landsat images taken between 1984 and 2012 have been converted into a seamless, navigable animation built from millions of satellite photos. As Google wrote this morning on its blog: “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.”

Below are a few of the GIFs Google has created showing some of the most startling pockets of change:

You can also zoom in to any spot on the planet – your hometown, the Amazon, your favorite Chinese mega-city – and watch the same three-decade timelapse unroll. Good luck getting anything done for the rest of the day.

The above image shows Dubai in 2011.

“Tomar Notas” no es transcribir, es sintetizar y para ello necesitas pensar

Justo ayer y anteayer, me dediqué a tomar Apuntes Visuales en el 2do Foro Académico de la Zona Poniente de la Ciudad de México, donde participamos más de cuatro instituciones de educación superior: La UAM, La IBERO, El CIDE y el ITESM, entre otros.

La tarea de la documentación fue ardua, pero recomendable, al final se expusieron las notas mientras se comentaban las conclusiones del evento y fue gratificante ver tus dibujos en pantalla. Una querida amiga puso un artículo de NPR en Facebook,  que me hizo reflexionar sobre mi labor y el cuál copio a continuación; El título del mismo se podría traducir a:“Atención estudiantes” dejen a un lado sus computadoras.

Lo más interesante de este artículo y si llegan a leer en las conclusiones, es que las nuevas tecnologías han evolucionando de tal manera que ahora es posible tomar apuntes, con un  lápiz de manera directa sobre la pantalla de nuestros dispositivos portátiles como pueden ver en las siguientes imágenes que tomó mi colega, Brenda Gracía.


Me pregunto si esta modalidad, de alguna manera nos está  regresando a la actividad tradicional de tomar apuntes y si es así sirve igual para el experimento que explican en el articulo, por lo menos desde mi punto de vista, creo que la actividad es muy parecida y el nivel de concentración es el mismo al igual que el proceso. Ustedes que dicen?


Bueno les dejo el artículo:

“Attention, Students: Put your Laptops away”

April 17, 20166:00 AM ET
Heard on Weekend Edition Sunday

As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there’s a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.

For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it’s so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.

In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.

“When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can,” Mueller tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.”

Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative note-taking pertains to “summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping,” while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim.

And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.

Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they’re hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweigh the drawbacks of not processing that information. On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at.

For their first study, they took university students (the standard guinea pig of psychology) and showed them TED talks about various topics. Afterward, they found that the students who used laptops typed significantly more words than those who took notes by hand. When testing how well the students remembered information, the researchers found a key point of divergence in the type of question. For questions that asked students to simply remember facts, like dates, both groups did equally well. But for “conceptual-application” questions, such as, “How do Japan and Sweden differ in their approaches to equality within their societies?” the laptop users did “significantly worse.”

The same thing happened in the second study, even when they specifically told students using laptops to try to avoid writing things down verbatim. “Even when we told people they shouldn’t be taking these verbatim notes, they were not able to overcome that instinct,” Mueller says. The more words the students copied verbatim, the worse they performed on recall tests.

And to test the external-storage hypothesis, for the third study they gave students the opportunity to review their notes in between the lecture and test. The thinking is, if students have time to study their notes from their laptops, the fact that they typed more extensive notes than their longhand-writing peers could possibly help them perform better.

But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. “This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions,” Mueller and Oppenheimer write.

Do studies like these mean wise college students will start migrating back to notebooks?

“I think it is a hard sell to get people to go back to pen and paper,” Mueller says. “But they are developing lots of technologies now like Livescribe and various stylus and tablet technologies that are getting better and better. And I think that will be sort of an easier sell to college students and people of that generation.”

la liga:

Giorgia Lupi nos cuenta, porque dibuja

Les comparto esta super entervista que la revista Green futures le hace a Giorgia Lupi quien refelxiona sobre el dibujo en la visulización de la información.


Why I draw: Giorgia Lupi on the art of visual understanding

17th November, 2014 by Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi, information designer and co-founder of Accurat, explains how drawing can lead to new ways of seeing and understanding.

Giorgia Lupi

Why do you draw?
I draw to freely explore possibilities. I draw to visually understand what I am thinking. I draw to evaluate my ideas and intuitions by seeing them coming to life on paper. I draw to help my mind think without limitations, without boundaries.

Drawing plays an important role in the production and communication of knowledge, and in the genesis of new ideas. It illustrates how instinctively our perception is directed towards finding meaning in things, recognising things. The act of drawing, and the very fact we choose to stop and draw, demands focus and attention. I use drawing as my primary expression, as a sort of functional tool for capturing and exploring thoughts.

For me, drawing is also an obsession: I always carry pens, pencils and paper in any situation. I cannot think about a project without a pen and some paper. Drawing is my way to understand that I had an idea in the first place. Besides, I take an incredible pleasure in tracing lines on paper and seeing abstract shapes come alive.

When does drawing become design?
I see design as a way to translate a structural concept for a specific audience, through a specific medium. It is also the process of visual planning and organising the choices made along the way of a project, given the specific boundaries of it. Drawing becomes design when you start tracing lines that help you rationalise what you think, and envision a possible solution. When it comes to designing data visualisations, I see three phases. One is understanding the macro categories to start sketching the first visual possibilities to organise the data, its ‘architecture’. Then I focus on the singular elements, the entry points, to figure out which shapes, colours and features we might invent to represent the sub-categories. Finally, we structure what I’d expect to eventually have in Illustrator software, but on paper. Isn’t drawing already ‘design’ in these phases? I think so.

What impact would you most like to have through your drawings?
I don’t draw to have an impact, I draw for myself. My drawings are never final pieces. I think this is something very personal. The most important impact I want my drawings to have is to lead me towards new, unexpected and beautiful visual design solutions, to create powerful and unusual visual compositions with data. In fact, I really want our work to be accurate, but beautiful and disruptive to a certain extent.

Do you see yourself as part of a data visualisation movement?
What drives me is the search for multiple ways to create unexpected, beautiful things in a way that can accurately represent complex systems of information. More generally, I think there are many reasons for the popularity of data visualisations. People are exposed to an increasing stream of content from many sources; bright and catchy images such as infographics fit perfectly into this media diet, playing with hierarchies to provide multiple levels of possible readings within a single piece. Of course, the proliferation of a number of easy-to-use and free tools has made the creation of infographics available to a large segment of the population, even non-experts.

What does it mean to be a designer?
To be a designer you have to find new ways to attract attention through new languages, products and solutions that – besides being functional and appropriate – must be magnetic and surprising. There are no universal answers to ‘how’ one does that. I think that I would simply say that it’s important not to leave any possibilities unexplored; and that it’s important to pursue logical solutions while freely letting the imagination flow.

Sometimes a great idea can come unexpectedly. Free explorations in design can lead to insights and epiphanies that cannot be always anticipated with a rational design approach. What I always do when I start every kind of project is allow myself to have time to get inspired by the world around me, while having the ‘brief’ in mind. I spend a great amount of time looking for visual inspiration, which I carefully organise on Pinterest.

What advice would you give to someone who can’t draw?
There is a lot of freedom in drawing; sometimes this freedom can scare and paralyse you. Complete freedom is never very good for coming up with truly disruptive ideas.

Even in my personal project I set constraints. What I would suggest is to start with a topic you want to explore (or redraw), and some rules for the final output, and then just start. And do it again. And do it again.

Draw for yourself, not for anybody else. And approach drawing less scientifically, more naively.

I draw without any prejudice: letting my hand go freely, without asking if it makes sense for the project in that very moment. Then I look at what I’ve drawn and decide whether to work on it, engaging this loop between thoughts, paper and sight.

Giorgia Lupi is co-founder and Design Director at Accurat, an information design company based in Milan and New York.

Image credit: Giorgia Lupi



Post-it urbanista. “El mapa de cualquier ciudad”

Muchas veces he pensado en las implicaciones que ha traído la tecnología del post-it no sólo para el diseño o la innovación, sino para cualquier descubrimiento dentro de cualquier disciplina y me mandaron esta liga del blog de 99%invisible.

La historia comienza con un boceto que hace Chaz Hutton en un post it, sobre la experiencia de vivir en la ciudad;  El “bosquejo ficticio” que en realidad no es un mapa, pero toma elementos dispuestos a manera  croquis que lo hace parecer lugar, poco a poco se vuelve viral, ya que varias personas trataron de identificarlo con un lugar real y crean sus propios bosquejos de lo que significa para ellos vivir en la ciudad. Esto da la idea a Chaz de hacer un bosquejo general de cada ciudad y analizar lo que la gente representa y que nos puede decir el imaginario colectivo y lo que puede representar para entender la ciudad.


Les dejo la liga y disfruten.

El proyecto me recuerda al de l artista Becky Cooper en su libro “Mapping Manhatan. A Love Story in maps”en el que Becky distribuye en la ciudad de NY una serie de volantes para que los participantes cuenten su historia y se encuentra con que muchas veces estas representaciones nos dicen mas sobre las personas que crean los mapas que sobre el propio lugar.




Historia visual del decrecimiento de la guerra y la violencia.


Les dejo esta liga que los dejará pensando en donde Max Rosen compara la “violencia interpersonal” con el régimen político de cada

Después analiza a mayor profundidad en esta otra liga el indice de homicidios y nos presenta estadísticas sobre el indice de violencia a largo plazo en Europa. En particular se enfoca en los homicidios es decir la muerte ilícita que se impone deliberadamente en una persona a otra, descartando las muertes de civiles y militares durante las guerras y genocidios, basándose en varios artículos científicos, en particular el de Eisner (2003) – Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime. In Crime and Justice, 30, 83–142.


Rosen concluye que los homicidios interpersonales han bajado en el periodo de el medioevo hasta el presente. Aunque me gustaría ver un acercamiento al contexto particular de México, ya que de acuerdo a la primera liga baja la violencia si los países son más democráticos lo que me lleva a pensar si el aumento en el indice de violencia puede ser un argumento para demostrar que nuestro gobierno actual se vuelve menos democrático. (Es un buen proyecto atractivo de Diseño de Información).

Acá el artículo de Eisner que me parece muy interesante.


Para ser genio, el “lugar” importa

Un ponente magistral de la conferencia de EPIC 2016 en Minneapolis fue Eric Weiner quien nos vino a platicar sobre su libro “The Geography of Genius”. Eric se dio cuenta que los genios aparecen por grupos en ciertos lugares y nos comunica los principales hallazgos para fomentar la capacidad de cultivar genios. Sería interesante integrar los hallazgos de Weiner en el contexto académicos y cultivar alumnos genio.

Les dejo un video de notas de su libro y de paso, les comparto mis notas de EPIC2016 para que lo puedan cotejar.

Y acá mis notas