Visualizing Technical Information: A Cultural Critique

Visualizing Technical Information: A Cultural Critique

by Lee E. Brasseur
     
 

ISBN-10: 0895032406

ISBN-13: 9780895032409

Pub. Date: 01/01/2003

Publisher: Baywood Publishing Company, Incorporated

Visualizing Technical Information: A Cultural Critique demonstrates the ways in which the leading technical visuals of information design—graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, illustrations, and information visualization—are designed and read. Using genre theory as an analytical tool, the author makes the argument that problems with these visual forms are not

Overview

Visualizing Technical Information: A Cultural Critique demonstrates the ways in which the leading technical visuals of information design—graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, illustrations, and information visualization—are designed and read. Using genre theory as an analytical tool, the author makes the argument that problems with these visual forms are not necessarily the result of a designer’s poor decisions or a reader’s poor interpretation skills. Instead, there may be inherent problems in the visual genres themselves that are a direct result of their cultural history and current use.

In presenting this argument, Visualizing Technical Information breaks new ground in bringing issues of culture and theory into the foreground as the key to many of the problems associated with information design. The author critiques the influences of Cartesian-based thinking, mathematical approaches, and logic-based methods to problem solving and a reliance on perceptual-based visual abstractions. In making this argument, the book addresses such issues as: Can a visually abstracted graph represent a clear picture of an emotionally centered topic such as rape? Does a technical illustration, through its clean lines and context-less space, communicate efficiency about an object that in actual use might be inefficient? How can a table communicate persuasive information merely by its detailed numerical format when, in fact, its results are far from conclusive? Does the reader have a difficult time interpreting an idea diagram because the diagram was created as a heuristic, not as a rhetorical device? What role does computer culture play in the newly developing genre of information visualization when programs are designed in great part with algorithms based on perceptual research, not on context-specific, user-centered research? Finally, what can we do now and in the future to improve the communication abilities of these technical information designs?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780895032409
Publisher:
Baywood Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2003
Series:
Technical Communications Ser.
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
188
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: Examining Technical Visuals as Genres in a Cultural Context

Chapter 2. The Graph

Chapter 3. Technical Illustrations

Chapter 4. Charts and Diagrams

Chapter 5. The Table

Chapter 6. Information Visualization

Chapter 7. Looking to the Future and Acting in the Present

Index

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