Mediakar

Visualization

Visualisation. Photo by: porah/ sxc.hu

Journalism is becoming increasingly visual. Here’s a list of resources which help you visualize data.

 Infographics

You no longer need to be a professional designer to be able to create a great infographic. Basically, what you need is a visual thinking and a clear idea of what you want to bring home to your audience. In the article “10 Steps To Designing An Amazing Infographic”, Josh Smith, creator and curator of Newswordy, explains the basic steps which will lead you to create an infographic which is easy to understand and is valuable for the audience. Always remember the story behind the data: “What starts as boring data will become a boring infographic unless a great story can be found”. This applies to all journalistic formats. No matter how beautiful and compelling your visualisation is, without a story, it is nothing. You may also want to look at “10 tips for journalists designing infographics”.

  • DataWrapper
  • Infogr.am – create interactive infographics and charts with the help of templates. The site has an easy and intuitive interface.
  • Easel.ly is still in the beta version and lets you create simple infographics. You can share your work online and embed it into your website or download it as a jpg. file.
  • DataAppeal – location-based infographics (3D and animated maps)
  • iCharts – interactive charts for online distribution or personal use. The free version offers a limited funcitonality.
  • Highcharts
  • Hohli is an online chart builder. You can create lines, bar charts, pie charts, venn diagrams, scatter plots and radar charts.
  • Creately lets you easily create diagrams and flow charts
  • Inkscape – a vector graphic software available for many platforms, which can be used as a free alternative to Illustrator, Freehand, CorelDraw or Xara X

Interactive pictures/ videos

  • Thinglink adds additional layers to your picture such as hyperlinks or text
  • Stipple is like Thinglink, and it also lets you post your interactive pictures on Facebook
  • Popcorn Maker by Mozilla helps you create interactive videos with maps, pictures, etc

Interactive maps

  • StatSilk is just awesome. It’s free visualisation software which helps you create interactive maps, graphs and charts.
  • amMap lets you create interactive flash maps.

Word clouds

Word clouds help visualise texts: the more often a certain word appears in a text, the bigger it will be in your word cloud.

  • Wordle generates word clouds form text that you provide.
  • Worditout basically works the same way as Wordle but lets you customize the layout in a more sophisticated manner.

Timelines

Storyboards/ Mockups

  • Storyboardthat offers a free account with some limitations. To use the full functionality, you will have to pay at least $2,79 a month (with the current fall discount)
  • Balsamiq – a simple tool to create website wireframes. You can use it for free during the trial period.

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