September 17, 2012 - FILED UNDER Visualization
Where’d You Get THAT Info?
Ever been asked that question before? I’m willing to bet you have. The truth is that when it comes to most projects (reports, slide presentations, or infographics) making sure you have the best information available must be priority number one. No one likes to be singled out for having faulty or inaccurate information, particularly for something as public as an infographic. Sometimes though, finding that perfect data can be challenging.
While tools like Google are excellent for sourcing information most of the time, it’s important to remember that sometimes having a conversation with a real, living person can be more insightful. So when the information gets a little too confusing or when you’re struggling to make sense out of that piece of information for your next infographic, getting a person on the phone might just do the trick. In a post from Visually, author Stephanie Vatz accurately points out some of the benefits and challenges you may face when dealing with people.
The Power of the People
According to Vatz, when you find yourself a bit stuck, talking to a real person can sometimes be the key to helping you piece everything together. Vatz writes about one example where she “researched a timeline of HTML 5 and its corporate adoption. I [Vatz] checked Wikipedia, used Google and did searches of news clips. But although I found some factoids, I knew little about their relative importance. This is where talking to people came in…Where these experts able to do my work for me? Of course not…But they led me on the right track to getting more information.” Sometimes talking to others can help shed some light on your research by directing you towards new sources or helping clarify complex information.
People are not Spreadsheets
It’s not all sunshine and flowers when it comes to talking to people. Vatz points out that there are some challenges when it comes to using people instead of URLs. For example, “unlike regular articles or blog posts, where you have a narrative that includes quotes (which are by nature attributed to their sources), graphics don’t leave a lot of space for credits. This can be problematic if experts are speaking to you because they see it as publicity.” She points out that you can try to add their names to the bottom of a graphic as a source. However, due to the nature of infographics, often times there just is not enough space to appropriately cite everyone involved. To remedy this issue, Vatz recommends instead thanking them by mentioning their “names and companies in a short write-up for the infographic published on your or any other blog.” Another possible issue you run into with people is that they are not spreadsheets. People will not spit out flawless facts complete with names, dates and sources.
Regardless of the challenges, talking with people about your research greatly helps. It’s something we often times forget to do. Next time you are researching information for an infographic and are finding it a bit tough, try ringing up some people on the subject. Odds are they’ll point you in the right direction and help you get a little closer to telling your story.