Data Visualization as Narrative?

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Can Data Visualization be used as a form of narrative persuasion? Research presentation for IML 502: Techniques of Information Visualization at USC.

Text of Data Visualization as Narrative?

  • 2. PURELY VISUAL Traditional modes for narrative and persuasion largely centered on the the raw powers of image and sound But what comes next?
  • 3. The Vietnam War became referred to as McNamaras War because of his persuasion of Congress and American people often with charts and graphs.
  • 4. DATA PERSUASION Similar narrative modes we see more often cite data to entices the emotional rather than the rational for understanding Perpetuating Myths?
  • 5. DATA VISUALIZATION Can it be used as a narrative mode of persuasion for a mass audience?
  • 6. MYTH # 1 Living in a ever-increasingly violent world
  • 7. FACT Living in a Less violent World Violent gun crime has dropped dramatically in the past two decades, but the majority of Americans think it's more of a problem now than ever. Source: worse/2139421/
  • 8. FACT Living in a Less violent World The number of people killed in battle calculated per 100,000 population has dropped by 1,000-fold over the centuries as civilizations evolved. Before there were organized countries, battles killed on average more than 500 out of every 100,000 people. In 19th century France, it was 70. In the 20th century with two world wars and a few genocides, it was 60. Now battlefield deaths are down to three-tenths of a person per 100,000. Source:
  • 9. MYTH # 2 A Homogenous Unchanging Africa In Poverty
  • 10. FACT Equatorial Guinea per capita income $36,600 South Africa per capita income $10,000 Swaziland per capita income $4,500 Burundi per capita income $300 A Complex Continent In Movement Of course, these regional averages obscure big differences among countries. In Ethiopia, income is only $800 a year per person. In Botswana its nearly $12,000. You see this huge variation within countries too: Life in a major urban area like Nairobi looks nothing like life in a rural Kenyan village. You should look skeptically at anyone who treats an entire continent as an undifferentiated mass of poverty and disease. Source: CIA World Factbook
  • 11. FACT A Complex Continent In Movement NAIROBI 1969 NAIROBI 2009
  • 12. FLAT FACTS Numbers and text are not compelling without a visual narrative? Not convincing enough?
  • 13. COUNTER NARRATIVES What Are Some Examples of Data Visualization To Create Counter Narratives That Can Have Mass Appeal?
  • 14. CURRENT USES Most Data Visualization in popular understanding are Infographics or used internally for companies to solve problems Too Shallow and Too Deep?
  • 17. MASS APPEAL DATA VIZ? Is There a Methodology We Can Create Use to Create Visualization for Mass Public Consumption?
  • 18. Storytelling for (Almost) Everyone
  • 19. HANS ROSLING GAPMINDER Storytelling with Data
  • 20. POST-SANDY HOOK DEATHS Visualizations from news organizations
  • 21. PRIO Interactive Small Arms Trafficking Data
  • 22. Principles Easy to Understand Clearly labeled and Informative Narrative Either with Movement, Audio, etc. Remember Contrast, Repetitive, Alignment, Proximity 1 2 3
  • 23. Income Inequality in the 21st Century Capital grows faster than labor income. Wealthy people control the majority of capital ergo wealthy people increase their wealth more quickly than wage earners and income inequality rises. If this trend continues, the future will look like the 19th century, where elites have predominantly inherited their wealth rather than earned it.
  • 24. Income Inequality, Europe versus United States
  • 25. Wealth Distribution of Capital, 1870-2100
  • 26. Top Inheritance Tax Rates, 1900 - 2011
  • 27. IML 502 EXPERIMENTAL Where the Top 100 Richest Have Citizenship
  • 28. IML 502 EXPERIMENTAL Source of Wealth from of Worlds 100 Richest
  • 29. Thank You
  • 30. A Few Follow-Up Questions How can we create a counter narrative to the violent world with data viz? What are some of the other methodologies to employ for a mass audience? Who should use these tactics? What are some of the pitfalls and dangers?