Visually boring wire frames and charts

17 Aug 2010 - 8:05pm
3 years ago
17 replies
1589 reads
aZippel4iD
2010

I am looking for inspiration to help me break out of my rut of generating wire frames and charts that are functional, but visually boring. Some individuals just have the knack to see and present data that doesn't put you to sleep. Datavisualization Yodas' if you will. Can you recommend some web sites, books or whatever that show examples of information relationships depicted in a visually appealing way. I have completely enjoyed the pattern libraries and I am hoping for the same when it comes to data.

 

Comments

18 Aug 2010 - 2:56am
Andrew Thelwell
2008

Visual Explanations by Edward R. Tufte - http://amzn.to/8YghjW - The daddy of information visualisation

Information is Beautiful by David McCandless - http://amzn.to/akH9lo - Not a book with practical tips, but full of examples of interesting information graphics.

Look at the Amazon recommendations on each of those pages and this will lead you to further treasure troves.

 

18 Aug 2010 - 9:24am
aZippel4iD
2010

Andrew, Thank you...You have jogged my memory with the name Edward Tufte. Art

18 Aug 2010 - 9:04am
Erik Johnson
2009

Couple sites worth checking out on a regular basis:

  • http://wireframes.linowski.ca/  Lots of variation in wire frame technique, tools, presentation, etc.  Updated fairly regularly, as well.  Great resource.
  • http://infosthetics.com/  The Information Aesthetics site.  Some interesting ideas on information presentation. 

18 Aug 2010 - 9:35am
aZippel4iD
2010

Erik, thank you - Art

18 Aug 2010 - 9:19am
mdostert
2010

great sites!

18 Aug 2010 - 9:32am
Paul Bryan
2008

I like "Understanding" by Richard Saul Wurman. Page after page of creative ways to visualize data.

Paul Bryan

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/uxexperts

18 Aug 2010 - 9:52am
Ania Powers
2010

According to my experience, although "cool" wireframes look better in your portfolio, it's different when you work on the project and you present wireframes to your client to get some opinion. The more "boring" wireframes, the better - because many clients will treat them as mockups, when they see any kind of visual treatment... and you will receive a bunch of completely useless feedback like "change typeface in login area" or "make orange type green" or "make background colorful".

18 Aug 2010 - 2:17pm
Erik Johnson
2009

Ania - I took the term "cool" in this thread to represent "different", or "alternative" to the norm.  I agree with your statement that a wire frame (of course, depending on type of project, phase of project, consumer of wire frame, etc) be free of the visual treatment which can and always does lead to distraction.

18 Aug 2010 - 8:44pm
Ania Powers
2010

Erik - nice examples.

"Mental notes" showed in one of the links remind me a little "moo'd cards" - cute tool, although IMO a little bit too "smashingmagazinable". Useful to set look&feel rather than architecture, but it may be used as an inspiration for presentation techniques).

18 Aug 2010 - 11:36am
annabellyeo
2010

More sites bookmarked here:

http://www.theuxbookmark.com/links/information-architecture/

 

18 Aug 2010 - 1:02pm
Graham Sear
2010

Nick finck is always a good resource for IA work. He did a really good talk at MIX10 on the lifecycle of a wireframe http://live.visitmix.com/MIX10/Sessions/DS04 and his process. Might help spark some ideas.

19 Aug 2010 - 5:33am
socialamigo
2010

Two words here:  Travis Isaacs

I saw his presentation on Becoming a Keynote Ninja in Dallas at the Big (D)esign Conference and really enjoyed it. He uses a native program to the Mac platform and uses it really well for wireframes. The most helpful thing, among many that he revealed to us, was his use of visual indicators in his wireframes that allow the audience to re-map the information once he's left the building. You see this in his "click" graphics on pages. It's smart and allows shareholders to do their thinking offline with printouts, if that's how they work, because what happens is visually described in a clear, obvious manner. Smart, simple stuff.

Find the Keynote Ninja presentation here:  Keynote Kungfu

socialamigo

22 Aug 2010 - 2:13am
Shivanand R Yerva
2009

Five Simple Steps launched this book recently: "A Practical Guide to Designing with Data" by Brian Suda.

Brian Suda takes you on a journey through the basics and makes it easy to produce beautiful looking, accurate representations of data. He’ll walk you through how to visualize and design data in such a way that it engages the reader and tells a story rather than just being flashy, cluttered and confusing.

Attaching the sample chapter.

22 Aug 2010 - 2:17am
Shivanand R Yerva
2009

Looks like the file attachment is not working. You can download the sample chapter from the website. http://fivesimplesteps.com/books/practical-guide-designing-with-data

4 Sep 2010 - 9:11am
jstrande
2007

Art,

Quick question - how will the data be used? Can you describe for us who will view the information and the context of when & how they'll need it?

Thank you!

Jon

4 Sep 2010 - 1:31pm
aZippel4iD
2010

Jon,

My question/statement isn't specific to any project or group of individuals. I have challenged myself to change my wire framing presentation skills. Sometimes a black and white line approach to wireframes is not the most effective or efficient way to show data relationships; sometimes it is. I have seen presentations where the data relationship is lost in the presentation by visual overkill; I have also seen presentations that were so visually minimal that they too failed in being effective. My goal is to expose myself to new ways of visual thinking to improve my presentation skills by adding more tools to my tool box. I believe there is no "arriving", so my goal is always to "enjoy" the journey.

I hope that helped.

Art

5 Sep 2010 - 8:21am
jstrande
2007

Art,

Got you! Make sense and I'm with you on the journey part, 100%! I've been working extremely hard to improve my graphic design skills so that I don't have to rely on a visual designer when I want to put something together. The other thing I've been doing is reading different books:

  • Pause & Effect, the art of interactive narrative
  • Directing the story
  • Open Here - the art of instructional design
  • Design for Impact
  • Etc, etc.

 

Best of luck on the journey and keep us posted!

Jon

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