Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Review of Tufte

I feel like I am beginning to sound like a broken record with these reading reviews and responses.  Once again, I do not feel like I am able to fully understand the purpose of the excerpt.  From the beginning, I thought it was going to discuss perspective and the creation of dimension on a flat plane, in which case I would have thought this would have been better to read before beginning the relief project. As I read, I became unsure of what it was trying to communicate.  I had to go back and re-read the whole article to begin to get some sort of idea of what I was supposed to glean from it.  I am glad that I watched the Youtube clip before beginning to read the excerpt.  I liked that the clip discussed different kinds of thinking that need to go into visual information and the different factors that needed to be considered about how the audience will interpret it.  I think that is what the excerpt is trying to discuss as well, just in a much more academic manner. 
The beginning of the excerpt is a bit misleading.  The discussion of Renaissance architects reminded me of a church I visited during a high school trip to Italy.  Interestingly enough, it was Sant’Ignazio, a church dedicated to the founder of the Jesuits.  What was interesting about the church was the dome, or what appeared to be a dome.  The church did not have enough money t0o build a dome at the time, so a painter decided to make it look like there was one by painting a circle on the ceiling and making the images within in appear to look like they were at a distance like a real dome.  I think the Renaissance painter reference in the excerpt was meant to indicate that the way artists portray visual information has evolved over time since they would flatten out land masses for the sake of maps.
Close up of Sant'Ignazio dome
Dome from afar

I thought it was very interesting that the article discussed that sacrifices must be made to “escape flatland” and enter into a new dimensional plane.  In the case of the dome in Sant’Ignazio, an architectural sacrifice was made but not constructing an actual dome, but the message of the image was still communicated effectively. Besides this, I am still having trouble understanding exactly what the excerpt is saying about visual communication. 
I think that communicating through visual representations of information is very important.  People understand information in many different ways, and some struggle to understand messages when they are communicated solely through words.  Visuals can be very helpful to how connections with information or show groupings of information.  As the excerpt showed, there are some amazingly complex forms of visual communications that can show a large amount of data, such as the large train timetable.  This is likely not meant for the general public.  I think it is very hard to read.  Visual and verbal communication can be integrated to send a more direct message to viewers.  The creator needs to clearly know their audience so that they know how to present their messages.

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