- Do you see education in visual communication /visualization as a necessary component of any formal and life-long education programmes?
Yes, I do. I think that the biggest challenge we have right now is to educate ourselves as designers and as audiences in order to go beyond reading the formal aspects of visual representations. I think there is a big challenge facing education and ethics regarding the use of data and its representations. From the formal point of view, there are already cases of the integration of reading visual images into public educational programmes.
- What other approaches can be combined with visualization to enhance its role as a social actor and agent of change? What about gamification, crowdsourcing digital mapping/cartography, storytelling?
The approaches you’re mentioning are certainly good practices to combine with visualizations for engaging and empowering people to use data actively. One approach that I personally think all designers working with data should try to achieve, is to design the transparency of the design process with data. This is not just publishing the final output of their work, but making available the databases, mentioning the sources, explaining which tools were used for scraping-cleaning-shaping the data, sharing the reasoning behind the design decisions that have been taken, etc. Perhaps not all visualisation projects may be transparent in the same ways but, for sure, there are aspects that could be shared with our audiences. It would give the audiences hint towards a better understanding of what they are seeing.
- Have you conducted any projects that follow the ‘transparency’ principle in applying visualization?
Yes. A good example would be A Field Guide to Fake News and Other Informational Disorders, conducted by the Public Data Lab in 2018 in collaboration with a number of researchers and designers. One of our aims was to make all the research and design processes transparent. The guide shares with the readers the context, questions, tools, visual models and design strategy of the visualizations, so that they can be replicated and modified. Another project I like very much is Scandaglio, as part of which I have the opportunity to collaborate with the OffTopic Lab. All of Scandaglio`s chapters are open and accessible on GitHub; each chapter uses diverse strategies for creating narratives using data-mixing approaches.