Visualization Tool – Visual.ly
In the course of work as an instructional designers, its routine to trawl the web constantly looking at ways people visualize ideas, concepts, processes. It’s an entire wonderland of variety out there on the inter-webs, in addition to the beauty one finds in various books on graphic design. Instructional designers then tend to be ‘inspired’ and apply those visualization techniques to whatever it is they seek to communicate.
One emerging aspect of graphic design is the use of the visual tools to represent vast quantities of data. As desktop computers and cloud services become more powerful,they are better able to crunch and represent numbers than is humanly possible. Tufte’s famous work ‘The Visual Design of Quantitative Information‘ shows many of the principles these programs use to visualize data. One such service that’s being talked about recently is visual.ly a site that promises to take your data and provide a push-button approach to to help you visualize it. This kind of tool can be very useful or instructional designers, who I foresee will have to deal with large, even gigantic quantities of data (requiring succinct communication) as the norm. Another aspect is the learning that is made possible through the ability to view relationships/patterns/threads in the data, leading to insights that would otherwise not be possible.
Right now, the visual.ly website offers a funny way to visualize your persona based on your twitter profile (you need to be a twitter user). You might want to try it. As for what’s to come in the future, we’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with.