How Scientific American makes its infographics
September 11, 2015 1:20 PM   Subscribe

It’s important to remember that scientists present their data in ways that their fellow scientists can comprehend. Technical jargon and statistical error bars can efficiently communicate the legitimacy of a scientific breakthrough to a scientific audience. However, these same features can be both confusing and distracting when presented to a wider audience. For the public to be excited and informed about the latest scientific breakthroughs, technical data visualizations need to be transformed into engaging visual stories that a wider community can understand.
posted by sciatrix (6 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
There are some great ideas in there and I'm not sure yet how I'm going to work a picture of a bonobo into this number theory article but I will try.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:25 PM on September 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I wish they'd follow real scientific practices more closely and include entirely unlabelled error bars. Half the fun of reading the paper is working out whether I'm looking at standard errors or 95% confidence intervals.
posted by langtonsant at 3:10 PM on September 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Take that, struggling science journalists.

Also, Murdoch should buy SciAm so we can have naked bonobo ladies dancing with error bars on billboards everywhere, amirite folks?
posted by pos at 5:59 PM on September 11, 2015

I love infographics so much. I always wondered how they got made. I've even contemplated using an AskMe question to find out. Here's how I pictured it:

A bunch of scientists have just discovered/figured out something awesome. As they're popping the bubbly, one of them stops and asks, "Wait, who's going to go make the picture so we can explain it to everybody?" And then they all grumble and maybe draw straws and then somebody shuffles off to draw the damn picture.

This is probably a better way.
posted by Weeping_angel at 3:06 AM on September 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, this is great. In fact that whole Storybench site is full of good stuff. Thank you!
posted by conkystconk at 5:09 AM on September 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Kind of sort of related but too interesting not to share: Recent AMA with Mike Bostock, creator of D3 and a former graphics editor for the NYT.
posted by callmejay at 10:14 AM on September 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

« Older The Planet Karn   |   Not a dry eye in the house Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments