Do visual media work differently to other media forms? – Week 9

Visual media absolutely work differently to other media forms. Visual media is an intermediate through which people can get information, news or data along with pictures. It is a medium to spread our ideas with help of pictures. Visual media is effectively in making the information simple, clear and reliable.

Visual media, like a real photo, is more efficiently to lead audience believed the information and data. For example, according to the news published in ‘’ by Anon, the article tells us that the polar bear is being threatened by the climate change. We can realise that global warming caused ice melting and the proportion of habitat is decreasing, and, polar bear will extinct soon if the ice keeps melting. It is hard to lead people entirely believed the dangerous situation of the polar bear without see it in real, because I’m sure that not much people have been in arctic before. Therefore, photo is the most helpful evidence to prove this content. It is where visual media work differently to other media forms; they present information in a way that people can see.

Moreover, a diverse range of content is sometimes difficult to know where to start. Visual media is used to simplify the complex information and indicated to publics in a transparent form. For example, according to the source from ‘’, intricate data of CO2 has been showed by the graph that we can clearly know the number of CO2 is increasing from 1955 until now and it will increasing in the future. Traditional media, like print media, usually list all the data by word that audience will not get the main message promptly. Reader will have trouble to understand the connection between the years and the number of CO2 by themselves, when the number presented through the article. Therefore, we know that not all of information can be present by word form. Visual media is the only effective mode to show the complex information when the complex information is hard to described in words.

Additionally, visual media can show the relationship of the multi-information much better than the other media forms. Audience can clearly understand the connection between the related information in a picture. For example, the picture from ‘Information is Beautiful’ by Anon indicated both CO2 levels and global temperature in single picture. Such multi-information is not able to present in print media, because it is hard to describe all the information in words. Therefore, visual media is the only choice to present this data effectively.

Furthermore, voluminous data can be presented in video that can reduce much more time of audience to get the message. For example, the video below shows ten years sequence of global fires. Audience can only spend one minute to go through ten years observation of fire around the world. This is what traditional media can’t do it as well.

In conclusion, today’s society is highly visual, and visual imagery is no longer supplemental to other forms of information. New digital technologies have made it possible for almost anyone to create and share visual media. Thus, I can say that visual media definitely work differently to other media forms.


Anon. (2008) ‘Struggling polar bears put on endangered list’,, May 15, <>, accessed 29th April, 2012

The co2now blog, <>, accessed 29th April, 2012

Anon. (2009) ‘The Global Warming Skeptics versus the Scientific Consensus’, Information is Beautiful, <>, accessed 29th April, 2012

<>, accessed 30th April, 2012


Information graphics – week 8

Due to the heavy proliferation of media and message saturation, public are now inundated with various information. As a result, publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to ensure their messages have the desired impact on public. Information graphic is an effective way to solve these problems where the complex and inexplicable information can be show to the public in a simple picture after organised and condensed.

In making data easy to see through the use of appealing imagery and creative design one is able to communicate complex ideas to people who have a lesser level of understanding.

For example, the graphic from ‘The Washington Post’, when the public want to know about the levels of press freedom in different countries, they don’t need to read all of the survey and collect the information by them. They can just download the data graphic which is already analysed and is a summary of what they want to know.

I think the key to effectively communicating with information graphics is to keep the amount of information presented to a minimum.

Colour is one of vital elements of information graphic, the eyes-catching colour such as red and black can bring to a focus. For instance, the graphic above, the countries which shaded in red or black colour presenting the less freedom that compare with other countries. Another example below from ‘Volumeone’, the eyes-catching colour, like red, is indicating the countries which have the lower percentage of population under nourished.

Therefore, people will be more minds on these colours when they see the graphic. Because these colours usually providing the information which is significant and is more value to become adverted. So that, publisher is used to using the eyes-catching colour to let audience focus on the main message.

By using the visualization, the complex message can be communicate clearly and quickly, especially the abstract concept. For example, the graphics below from ‘McDonald’ depicting nutrition contained in the food compiles a significantly complex series of data bases into one easy to understand diagram.

The abstract concepts such as calories, protein and fats can be visualized in a clear and simple form. People can count and record the number of the abstract concepts by visual data. In this food graphics, data visualization can be an effective reference to the public who are on diet that they can estimate how many things they have incepted. People who are on diet can also compared the food by this visual data that they can choose the proper food. Additionally, McDonald provided a food archive to public that all the food they are supplying will be listed on information graphics which can be read on their website.

Visualization is one of significant modes of publishing in current society where people can get the main message within massy information immediately and also can see the benefit of keeping data presentation as simple and concise as possible.


Melissa, Bell, 2012, ‘U.S. falls 27 places in worldwide freedom of the press rankings’, Blog Post, The Washington Post <> accessed in 21 April 2012

VolumeOne LLC., 2012, ‘Good Magazine. Transparency. Information Graphics’ <> accessed in 21 April 2012

Infosthetics, 2006, Information aesthetics, ‘McDonald’s menu charts’ <> accessed in 21 April 2012

Week 6 – Infotention

The word “Infotention” is a crucial concept for publishing. According to ‘Howard Rheingold’, infotention implies a mind-machine combination of brain-powered attention skills and computer-powered information filters. The inside and outside of infotention work best together with a third element which is sociality (Rheingold, H, 2009).

Here is a non-interactive representation of the infotention cmap:

The theory reveals the interdependent relationship between attraction and distraction. Nowadays, we are crammed with the free flow of information, publications and ideas. This is what makes our attraction very scarce as information is highly accessible. The same goes for distraction, for example, without an advertisement on the television that informs me about the latest release of iPad by Apple, my attention would not have been taken from what I was doing. Both attraction and distraction cannot survive without each other’s existence.

The idea suggests users to undergo attention discipline and part technical skill, to protect ourselves from information overload. According to Howard Rheingold’s video, ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’, they are introducing the mental and technical aspects of information dashboards, radars, and filters, also, shows how to build an information dashboard.

Part two of the video includes using RSS reader to personalize the sources of information, Netvibes to organize your own way of consuming news.

Furthermore, it is also recommended that users start at an early stage to restrict a certain amount of information to our inboxes, in which he calls it “network literacy”. Not only this, is a wise and less time-consuming way for readers, also a better way for advertisers to promote to their target groups. This can be referred from the video “Network Literacy Part One” where Rheingold discusses about the way structure and dynamics of networks influences political freedom, economic wealth creation, and participation in the creation of culture.

In addition, with the underlying technical architecture of the Internet, the freedom to innovation is largely facilitated. This results in the assemblages of attention in publishing. When investigating the assemblages, it is important to examine its commons: The stakeholders of information, personal, state-owned, public and corporate data.

Undoubtedly, data is collectively owned and produced by internet users, this further leads to a redistribution of attention in publishing. The implications of the digital commons are that more opinions are circulated, freedom of speech is more supported, and different kinds of public, such as, private and public, get to come collaborate and result in social consequences.

In conclusion, the relationships between publishing, attention and social collectivity are intertwined. Publishing attracts and distracts attention at the same time; while attention is able to be attracted and distracted deliberately and voluntarily by infotention; while social collectivity can be both a result and a stimulant to publish and attract attention.


Rheingold, Howard (2009) ‘Mindful Infotention: Dashboards, Radars, Filters’, SFGate,<>, accessed 29 March

Rheingold, Howard (2011) ‘Infotention Part One’, YouTube, <>, accessed 29 March

Rheingold, Howard (2011) ‘Infotention Part Two’, YouTube, <>, accessed 29 March 2012

Rheingold, Howard (2011) ‘Network Literacy Part One’, YouTube, <>, accessed 29 March 2012

O’Malley, Mike (2010) ‘Attention and Information’ The Aporetic, <>

Boyd, Stowe (2010) ‘The False Question of Attention Economics’, Stowe Boyd, <>, accessed 29 March 2012