Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • I love infographics.

  • As an information designer,

  • I've worked with all sorts of data over the past 25 years.

  • I have a few insights to share, but first: a little history.

  • Communication is the encoding, transmission and decoding of information.

  • Breakthroughs in communication mark turning points in human culture.

  • Oracy, literacy and numeracy were great developments in communication.

  • They allow us to encode ideas into words

  • and quantities into numbers.

  • Without communication, we'd still be stuck in the Stone Ages.

  • Although humans have been around for a quarter million years,

  • it was only 8,000 years ago that proto-writings began to surface.

  • Nearly 3,000 years later, the first proper writing systems took shape.

  • Maps have been around for millennia and diagrams for hundreds of years,

  • but representing quantities through graphics

  • is a relatively new development.

  • It wasn't until 1786 that William Playfair invented the first bar chart,

  • giving birth to visual display of quantitative information.

  • Fifteen years later, he introduced the first pie and area charts.

  • His inventions are still the most commonly used chart forms today.

  • Florence Nightingale invented the coxcomb in 1857

  • for a presentation to Queen Victoria on troop mortality.

  • Highlighted in blue,

  • she showed how most troops' deaths could have been prevented.

  • Shortly after, Charles Minard charted Napoleon's march on Moscow,

  • illustrating how an army of 422,000 dwindled to just 10,000

  • as battles, geography and freezing temperatures took their toll.

  • He combined a Sankey diagram with cartography

  • and a line chart for temperature.

  • I get excited when I get lots of data to play with,

  • especially when it yields an interesting chart form.

  • Here, Nightingale's coxcomb was the inspiration

  • to organize data on thousands of federal energy subsidies,

  • scrutinizing the lack of investment in renewables over fossil fuels.

  • This Sankey diagram illustrates the flow of energy through the US economy,

  • emphasizing how nearly half of the energy used is lost as waste heat.

  • I love it when data can be sculpted into beautiful shapes.

  • Here, the personal and professional connections of the women of Silicon Valley

  • can be woven into arcs,

  • same as the collaboration of inventors birthing patents across the globe

  • can be mapped.

  • I've even made charts for me.

  • I'm a numbers person, so I rarely win at Scrabble.

  • I made this diagram to remember all the two- and three-letter words

  • in the official Scrabble dictionary.

  • (Laughter)

  • Knowing these 1,168 words certainly is a game changer.

  • (Laughter)

  • Sometimes I produce code to quickly generate graphics

  • from thousands of data points.

  • Coding also enables me to produce interactive graphics.

  • Now we can navigate information on our own terms.

  • Exotic chart forms certainly look cool,

  • but something as simple as a little dot may be all you need

  • to solve a particular thinking task.

  • In 2006, the "New York Times" redesigned their "Markets" section,

  • cutting it down from eight pages of stock listings

  • to just one and a half pages of essential market data.

  • We listed performance metrics for the most common stocks,

  • but I wanted to help investors see how the stocks are doing.

  • So I added a simple little dot

  • to show the current price relative to its one-year range.

  • At a glance, value investors can pick out stocks trading near their lows

  • by looking for dots to the left.

  • Momentum investors can find stocks on an upward trajectory

  • via dots to the right.

  • Shortly after, the "Wall Street Journal" copied the design.

  • Simplicity is often the goal for most graphics,

  • but sometimes we need to embrace complexity

  • and show large data sets in their full glory.

  • Alec Gallup, the former chairman of the Gallup Organization,

  • once handed me a very thick book.

  • It was his family's legacy:

  • hundreds of pages covering six decades of presidential approval data.

  • I told him the entire book could be graphed on a single page.

  • "Impossible," he said.

  • And here it is:

  • 25,000 data points on a single page.

  • At a glance, one sees that most presidents start with a high approval rating,

  • but few keep it.

  • Events like wars initially boost approval;

  • scandals trigger declines.

  • These major events were annotated in the graphic but not in the book.

  • The point is, graphics can transmit data with incredible efficiency.

  • Graphicacy --

  • the ability to read and write graphics --

  • is still in its infancy.

  • New chart forms will emerge and specialized dialects will evolve.

  • Graphics that help us think faster

  • or see a book's worth of information on a single page

  • are the key to unlocking new discoveries.

  • Our visual cortex was built to decode complex information

  • and is a master at pattern recognition.

  • Graphicacy enables us to harness our built-in GPU

  • to process mountains of data

  • and find the veins of gold hiding within.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause and cheers)

I love infographics.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 US TED data chart information diagram communication

【TED】Tommy McCall: The simple genius of a good graphic (The simple genius of a good graphic | Tommy McCall)

  • 521 27
    林宜悉 posted on 2018/10/15
Video vocabulary