Visualization in Design Practice: Hendrick Hudson Free Library

Go to a public space (such as a museum, shopping mall, hospital, airport, sports complex, school or theme park) and carry out an analysis of the information design of the displays and exhibits, based on material covered in class and your own insights. Analyze and critique the design based upon concepts and examples from the readings, and provide appropriate references. Consider any of the following elements that may be applied to your study:

  • Signage systems, directions, maps.
  • Visual information, including charts, symbols, diagrams, photographs.
  • Quality of exhibits and displays.
  • Quality of contextual information: explanations, background information, etc.
  • Effective use of stories and related strategies to engage the audience and make the information meaningful.
  • Appropriateness for audience (Who is the audience? Is the information designed appropriately for that audience?).
  • Overall design, including aesthetics, integration of different components, cohesiveness, unity, clarity of purpose.

Propose areas for improvement in your blog post along with your analysis. Include theories you use, the tools that would be most useful to solve design problems, and to utilize the research and discovery processes we have discussed in this class.


The libraries of New York, in general, are pretty spectacular.  However, I live in a pretty expensive county and the libraries I’ve been to so far are impressive.  I’ve been accustomed to painting a picture with words.  Since this class, I’ve learned the meaning behind showing as well as providing the words.

This is Hendrick Hudson Free Library:

02. 0581-00 - HENDRICK 02 - 960x540 0581-00 – HENDRICK 01 – 960×540.png

A meticulous and very clean look.  This library has gone through many changes over the course of almost 20 years.

I found a timeline that will give some background information to this process and the beautiful grounds.  An amazing fact: this used to be the Firehouse.

Library Timeline 1931 to Present


HHFL founded by a group of women from the College Hill section of Montrose.


Library Association formed.
Library located on the ground floor of a house at the corner of Albany Post Road and Kings Ferry Road. (Current location of the Cortlandt Ambulance Corps) Five trustees elected.



Provisional Charter Granted May 20, 1938.


Absolute charter granted by the New York State Education Department.



New home at the Kavana Building on Albany Post Road.

 kavana building

Library moves to the renovated Montrose Fire House, 1 Kings Ferry Road

BeforeFirehouse before





Brand new facility at 185 Kings Ferry Road opens in July.

library open

Phase 2 completed: Expanded Children’s Room. Larger Community Room with a balcony; Additional Study Room.

Expanded children room



Celebrating 65 years of Library Service to the Hendrick Hudson School District residents.


Hendrick Hudson Free Library celebrates its 75th year of service.

75 service



In January of 2015, the library became the first library in Westchester County to obtain Green Certification through the Westchester Green Business Challenge.


The ease of access to information is available in a number of ways.  The counter can provide information or the centrally located Help Desk are there to provide assistance.  I’m sure most are familiar with library systems so I won’t go overboard with them.  They are labeled in ways that you can access them readily.  In genre, author, subject, content, type, section, and computer access to the same information.  I happen to not like Westchester County much, but their library system does work efficiently for everyone.  You might have to wait a long time for a top selling item, but the ways of using your card to access your spot in line give you an idea for how long.

Because I primarily use epub, Mobi, or fb2 I tend to get actual books when I absolutely need to.  Of course, when my mood strikes and I need to feel the pages I will.  However, I’m big on the fact my screen has a light and I can read without using a light to read a book.  I know weird but simpler.  There set up has always been about ease of access and so people can find what they need.  If they can’t they are there to help you.  Being surrounded by close-knit type communities you get to know the librarians.

Taking that into consideration the times and accessibility even for those impaired or disable is visible.

Take a look inside and see how inviting it is:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a book drop located outside in the parking lot and inside at the desk.  All around the room on labeled signs it tells you which section you are in.  Each row of shelves is labeled and easy to understand.  Again, if you can’t understand the system I librarian is always available to help.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to this library over the years.  It is a relaxing place to go.  And from the pictures it is big.  It does have an upstairs that is available for events or even classes.

Utilizing what I’ve learned in class, I noticed I paid more attention to signs and pictures.  The fact this library is so open and spacious does help.  All signs are noticeable and easy to understand.  Because I’m so familiar with the library, I took appreciation to how to locate information and with what.  There are numerous computers and ways to access the information.  If no one is available computer access is there for your use.  Personally, I find browsing and familiarizing myself with the set-up easier to understand by doing a walk around.

Changing this library?  After the number of changes it has since gone through, I would think the only thing to make it even better is more books even on the online directory.  I’m pretty sure that has been the only complaint I’ve heard is a bigger selection and to widen its materials to other genre’s and topics.  Some material is very limited even online.


I enjoyed this project because I do go to this library regularly, and I really didn’t want to deal with a hospital, museum, or shopping mall.  I was going to write about my daughter’s school, but I wanted to include a map that I couldn’t find.  So, I went further into our beautiful library.


Works cited:

HenHud Free Library,w_640/newsnet-photo-fid-584733

Inside and out Hen Hud Library×540.png

Inside Hen Hud Newer Additions×540.png

Other views of Hen Hud Library×540.png


Crisis of Global Proportions

I have included these pictures to my blog for your information from my discussion question for Module 6.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Works cited:

Nigel Homes Graphics:


What we can do:


Baer, Kim. Information Design Workbook: World Filter Visualization. Pages 164-167. Lockport Publishers, 2008. (Scanned image pg. 168)

Web Site Accessibility for the Impaired

For this blog post, ponder how your blog content is digested by readers who cannot see or hear. Create a post that incorporates text, image(s), and video(s). This content can be your own or cited works from others (used by permission, or from the Creative Commons). What will you need to do as blog content creators for supporting all audiences?  What are the best practices for those who have sight and/or hearing and/or physical issues?  What tools are used by the blind or deaf, or those who cannot easily control conventional keyboards and mice, or touch screen interfaces?


I have a great respect for those how cannot see or hear, and definitely a greater respect for those who can’t do both.  Anyone who has a disability has my utmost respect that I still think needs more improvement.  My mother just retired as Speech Therapist at New York School for the Deaf.  I was always amazed at what they had to accomplish with their impairment.  With this day and age of advancement for the impaired I have to say that they have more than the days of Hellen Keller’s days.  But, aside from that she was still an amazing individual who conquered her impairments.  Judging by the disabilities these days; we have come a long way, but with the ever-changing tactics for web accessibility, we still have a long way to go.


Considering the Disability Types:


The major categories of disability types are:


Blindness, low vision, color-blindness


Deafness and hard-of-hearing


Inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control


Learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information

I reviewed the video’s on Web Site Accessibility and I’m quite surprised that even with legalities backing it one would think we have progressed even further.

We do have the caption ability for certain things, but not all for the hearing impaired.  We have a way for the blind to get the information they need but at a cost.  For those with mobility issues, we have aides to help, but they aren’t always conducive to the web site’s mobility.  Then there is cognitive which is as perfect and can be costly to help.

Of course, it is still a work in progress and working the guidelines of the law, but it still isn’t as it should be to help those with disabilities.

I will dig deeper in something I know.  I’ve always been intrigued by the blind especially all that entails with them having it user-friendly as well as up to code.  I think considering Information Design being a visual based criteria would make this much harder for a blind individual.  They can’t see what a picture is, but can feel the words and hear the words.  But this is costly to them, and I think this is the biggest setback to those who are in the lower bracket of income.  It is still very similar to the past when the blind had to depend on someone else to get the information.  I think, for those that can afford the cost and get the help needed they have better access, but not much.  It has improved, but in order to do that websites would need to comply by disability standards.  And, I’m not quite sure all do have these features.

By doing this, they can implement:

Awareness. The foundation of any kind of commitment to web accessibility is awareness of the issues. Most web developers are not opposed to the concept of making the internet accessible to people with disabilities. Most accessibility errors on websites are the result of lack of awareness, rather than malice or apathy.

Leadership. Understanding the issues is an important first step, but it does not solve the problem, especially in large organizations. If the leadership of an organization does not express commitment to web accessibility, chances are low that the organization’s web content will be accessible. Oftentimes, a handful of developers make their own content accessible while the majority don’t bother to, since it is not expected of them.

Policies and Procedures. Even when leaders express their commitment to an idea, if the idea is not backed up by policy, the idea tends to get lost among the day-to-day routines. The best approach for a large organization is to create an internal policy that outlines specific standards, procedures, and methods for monitoring compliance.


Through training and technical support, there are ways to integrate web accessibility for those impaired.

Laws and standards

If you live in the United States, applicable laws include The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 and Section 508). Many international laws also address accessibility.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provide an international set of guidelines. They are developed by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), the governing body of the web. These guidelines are the basis of most web accessibility law in the world. Version 2.0 of these guidelines, published in December 2008, are based on four principles:

  • Perceivable: Available to the senses (vision and hearing primarily) either through the browser or through assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, screen enlargers, etc.)
  • Operable: Users can interact with all controls and interactive elements using either the mouse, keyboard, or an assistive device.
  • Understandable: Content is clear and limits confusion and ambiguity.
  • Robust: A wide range of technologies (including old and new user agents and assistive technologies) can access the content.

These first letters of these four principles spell the word POUR. This may help you remember them.

The above I found interesting, but have to wonder exactly how this is being enacted?  I know of a few who have gone to great lengths to get assistance to help aid them and they have been denied.  Yet, there’s strict law and standards for those who are to uphold POUR, and yet, we can’t provide for those with limited resources to access to more information by using the web.  It almost looks like a no win situation, if you ask me.

With the above video, it definitely gives you an idea what it means for those with disabilities and how Information Design is limited.  I know from my mother’s career of helping those with hearing disabilities that their limited senses are (considering other impairments aren’t an issue) mostly visual.  I know this isn’t based on Information Design, but my daughter and I have a few shows we watch together.  This year it happens to be the last year for America’s Next Top Model hosted by Tyra Banks on the CW network.  A contestant is a young male model who is deaf.  In one of the episodes, they literally shot pictures in the pitch dark and he couldn’t see or hear.  He didn’t do so great and I can understand why.  He didn’t have the visual aides to help him and was directed by the feel of photographer hitting the board so he could feel vibrations.  It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever seen.  However, because it is a model industry they believe you should do anything.  He has one of his senses taken away and he’s supposed to automatically know what to do as a contestant?  It was atrocious in my opinion, and even, considering that it was a competition.  I think, right then, I was glad the series was finally ending.


I think this embedded video is a good example on what websites need for accessibility and what designers should use as a resource.  Not so much on how to do it, but what they should have to get there.


I think considering all the above, we have come a long way.  However, we need to look at the bigger picture and realize it isn’t just the needs of website accessibility, it’s about making everyone have the same opportunities as everyone around them: whether they are rich, poor, middle class, disabled, or not.  It’s about accessibility for all, not some.



“Introduction to Web Accessibility.” WebAIM:. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <;.




Design ToolKit

Our readings for this module discuss visual/graphic tools of design and visual design. Select a topic of your choice from the readings, and discuss its importance to information design. Find at least one excellent example on the web to support your discussion. Research design tools such as mapping applications, concept mapping, social media tools, 3D virtual world tools, and any other application that may be used in the design and presentation of information. Include at least one tool of information design as part of your discussion.


Considering the path, I was taking as a Web Designer, a lot of the design concepts of Kim Baer’s Chapter 4 really fit.  Let me reiterate, I’ve been weighing a lot about my direction in life and found that with my education on Web Design & Development how closely related this Module is with that class.  I think, considering that I am going in a different direction that these two classes are something I can use later on regardless the direction I finally take.  Having said that I chose Kim Baer’s Chapter 4 Design ToolKit.


I came across a great example and breakdown of Visual Design Basics that I believe is definitely a concept of Visual Design.


Below is the copy of the page and I will have the citation at the conclusion of this posting:


Visual Design Basics

Visual design focuses on the aesthetics of a site and its related materials by strategically implementing images, colors, fonts, and other elements.  A successful visual design does not take away from the content on the page or function.  Instead, it enhances it by engaging users and helping to build trust and interest in the brand.

Basic Elements of Visual Design

The basic elements that combine to create visual designs include the following:

  • Lines connect two points and can be used to help define shapes, make divisions, and create textures.  All lines, if they’re straight, have a length, width, and direction.
  • Shapes are self-contained areas.  To define the area, the graphic artist uses lines, differences in value, color, and/or texture.  Every object is composed of shapes.
  • Colorpalette choices and combinations are used to differentiate items, create depth, add emphasis, and/or help organize information.  Color theory examines how various choices psychologically impact users.
  • Texture refers to how a surface feels or is perceived to feel. By repeating an element, a texture will be created and a pattern formed. Depending on how a texture is applied, it may be used strategically to attract or deter attention.
  • Typography refers to which fonts are chosen, their size, alignment, color, and spacing.
  • Form applies to three-dimensional objects and describes their volume and mass.  Form may be created by combining two or more shapes and can be further enhanced by different tones, textures, and colors.

Principles for Creating a Visual Design

A successful visual design applies the following principles to elements noted above and effectively brings them together in a way that makes sense.  When trying to figure out how to use the basic elements consider:

  • Unity has to do with all elements on a page visually or conceptually appearing to belong together. Visual design must strike a balance between unity and variety to avoid a dull or overwhelming design.
  • Gestalt, in visual design, helps users perceive the overall design as opposed to individual elements. If the design elements are arranged properly, the Gestalt of the overall design will be very clear.
  • Space is “defined when something is placed in it”, according to Alex White in his book, The Elements of Graphic Design. Incorporating space into a design helps reduce noise, increase readability, and/or create illusion. White space is an important part of your layout strategy.
  • Hierarchy shows the difference in significance between items.  Designers often create hierarchies through different font sizes, colors, and placement on the page. Usually, items at the top are perceived as most important.
  • Balance creates the perception that there is equal distribution.  This does not always imply that there is symmetry.
  • Contrast focuses on making items stand out by emphasizing differences in size, color, direction, and other characteristics.
  • Scale identifies a range of sizes; it creates interest and depth by demonstrating how each item relates to each other based on size.
  • Dominance focuses on having one element as the focal point and others being subordinate.  This is often done through scaling and contrasting based on size, color, position, shape, etc.
  • Similarity refers to creating continuity throughout a design without direct duplication. Similarity is used to make pieces work together over an interface and help users learn the interface quicker.

Example of Pulling it all together

Applying design principles to the basic elements can seem overwhelming at first but once you start pulling a page or concept together, it becomes easier.  Below is an example homepage that features some of the principles in action:

  • Color contrast was applied to the logo making the word “stop” stand out
  • Text spacing and size creates a visual hierarchy
  • Featured image in the carousel dominates over the smaller images below it to create a focal point
  • White space is used around text and between sections to allow the page to breath
  • Textured background to helps the elements on the page stand out on top of it
  • Map showing scale
  • Lines to divide sections
  • Shapes to create buttons




The above clearly points out all the steps I have had to take while taking my Web Design & Development class.  I want to take it a bit further though.

With Kim Baer’s Chapter 4 Design ToolKit she broke down each toolset into categories.


Color:    An extremely important tool for an Information Designer.  (Personally, I think it is important for anyone or any type of designer) Color is a very effective way to convey differentiation.  She gives a perfect example of when we first learned a red light means stop and green means go.  Color can also provide a sense of wayfinding, allowing readers to scan text and quickly isolate elements such as subheads and bullets. (Baer, pg.90)

Put it this way color can be used as an eye popper on websites like the one I have shown above with the  It is clear and as concise as a red light on a stop light.


Type Styling:      The styling of type is another key way to differentiate types of information and establish a sense of hierarchy.   Put simply you can utilize what type of fonts, highlighting, bold, italics, and size to help with your type styling.  As shown earlier I used Arial type font, size 12, italic, and highlighted in yellow.  These are things needed when setting up any type of page whether it is a paper, website, spreadsheet, banner, or whatever type document is needed.  With websites though I’ve read enough to know that consistency is the key.  Too much leaves the web page looking cluttered or disorganized.  Well, in my opinion, it makes it look like a website I would pass over than one who kept it consistent, eye catching, and more importantly legible! (Baer, pg. 94-97)

Weight and Scale:           This was rather interesting especially considering Dan Roam’s insistence on visuals being necessity rather than a reluctant use for any business tactic.  Why mention his strategic ethics here?  Well, consider Amazon for a second.  You browse the pictures.  Sure you put in what you are looking for which is words, but ultimately your eye narrows on the picture or your desired pick.  I have read that this is something most humans do as well.  Skimming.  Pictures and visuals help us achieve this.  With weight and scale, and as a way to scan quickly, humans scan patterns and differences.  Changes in the weight and scale of artwork and typographic elements can signal certain pieces of information that can be prioritized.  By using Type and Color this can easily clarify complex hierarchy.  With each of the designs on the pages Baer, 99-101 you can clearly see the example of this.  Quoting Simon Johnston “Graphic design is a form of translation”.  I want to add to that and say it pops out and allows us to read the necessary information.  With the graphic it tells that story. (Baer, pgs. 98-101)


Structure:            I’m actually learning this in Web Design & Development.  Effective white space and carefully planned grids can definitely help space out information and help a reader navigate through complex information.   Whether it is writing, multimedia, art, or the organization of an exhibit—can convey additional meaning.  I know I’ve struggled with this a tad due to some web pages also consisting of passive space and how it is seen on other devices.  My computer can have settings that I don’t see passive space, but on another I see it.  Phones and tablets have their own integration from web to device.  How does this relate to structure?  Well, in just about everything we do we need a layout.  When spaced it can draw the reader or user in.  It allows them to navigate quickly and efficiently.  If there isn’t a flow, you can lose the focus of the viewer/reader.  With structure it can allow a client, customer, viewer, reader, to update content easily without sacrificing the integrity of the original design.  This is especially important to web design developers.  Something I’m currently learning about!  And, as you will see from the above content I posted above on the it shows the structure of the content of the web page.  (Baer, pgs. 102-103)


Grouping:           Clustering information can help readers locate their information quickly whether it is simplistic or complex.  Multiple entry points allow the reader to absorb information as visual sound bites.  The grouping of information can also signal hierarchies of importance, particularly when used in conjunction with changes in color, weight, and scale.  I am sensing a pattern within Baer’s ToolKit.  This is something I’ve learned a bit, not as much, in my Web Design & Development class.  However, interestingly enough I learned this in the last of my class in Photoshop Introductory Class.  It helped me recognize how a web design page can be grouped by each hierarchy or grouping page.  I like to think of them as sub-categories to categories of information.  As stated above on the Web page you can see the hierarchy of information.  I had to wonder if Moodle can be conveyed in the same way with grouping.  You click to get to the page you need and from there you absorb the information and continue on to the next piece of information.  I think all the Basic toolkits are becoming apparent and crucial as a whole.  I think Blogger and WordPress can be a good example of grouping.  They might not be perfect by any means, but essentially the hierarchy of grouping is very much defined by sidebars and the structure.  (Baer, pgs. 106)


Graphic Elements:          Not my favorite topic, but here goes.  I would have to say this goes hand in hand with Dan Roams ‘The Back of the Napkin’.  Lines, rules, bullets, and other devices are tools designers still use to purposefully attract the eye.  I think my problem comes with integrating the information to formulate the all-powerful vision Dan Roam insinuates with his drawings of data to picture.  I think that is where I fell short on the drawing.  Graphic Elements suggest graphs, visuals aids, and data.  But, leaving the graphic element aside, it’s the graphic shapes that draw attention to the messages.  It can be a hierarchical tree, timeline, or even graphic icons as a key legend that can give importance of the information.  I’m not a beer drinker (I know gasp, shocker…but I think it’s taste is frankly like how I can’t stand coffee…another gasp, I know).  However, the picture on Baer, 112 is a great example of graphic elements.  Even despite the complexity, the two page does an excellent job with careful detail and eye-catching visual interest.  (Baer, pgs. 110-113)


Imagery:              About the best part of Baer’s ToolKit!  I may not be a drawer, but visual aids are about the best thing to keep one’s attention.  I have to agree with the paragraph Baer says: Reader studies show that the marriage of text and image is one of the most powerful ways to help a reader retain information.  Publications know a “flip through” reader may not read paragraphs of text, but will very likely read a caption for an intriguing image.  Designers can also help distill information by creating effective graphics.  Hmm, well, considering graphic elements isn’t my best suit, but imagery is one would wonder why?  I thought so too!  I think it is the getting to the graphic element that isn’t something I prefer, but the results and the imagery of putting it out there, that does.  You basically have a graphic element like a picture and integrate it with the basis of why you have that picture up.  Example: Deep sea photography and on the side of it the technical information for a catalog for a wetsuit.  I think imagery like that can also be used for shopping sites like Amazon to name one.  It is a tool that helps readers narrow on what they want or could want.  I think this is a great way for boosting up sales or advertising like it’s done for a good majority of things people will want or need. (Baer, pgs. 114-117)


Sound and Motion:         I think is the most important part to keep an individual intrigued.  However, I think it should be done meticulously and not overboard.  Interactive media provides two additional tools—sound and motion.  Statistically, it has been proven that most retain information by sound, while others rely more on visuals. Combining sound with graphic devices can have a powerful effect.  With anything given by motion and sound it leaves a mark and creates a sense of narrative that is memorable.  I think the best example to that would be a pregnant mother using sound to calm or sing to her unborn child.  Or that child who is now old enough to understand words listens to the sound of a voice while reading to them.  With this enhancement this allows those with impairments to peruse just as one with all of their senses.  I think we have gone leaps and bounds with this ToolKit. (Baer, pgs. 118-121)


Now that I have gone through each of these and compared it to I have to say that it is all cohesive.   I can go as far as to say that even with Dan Roam’s and Jacobson’s that all of Information Design is interrelated, it’s just the way it’s conveyed and up to interpretation.



Baer, Kim, and Jill Vacarra. Information Design Workbook: Graphic Approaches, Solutions, and Inspiration 30 Case Studies. Beverly, Mass.: Rockport, 2008. Print.  (Chapter 4 pgs. 89-121)

“Visual Design Basics.” Visual Design Basics. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2015. <;.

Minimally used citation:

Jacobson, Robert. Information design. MIT press, 2000.

Roam, Dan. The back of the napkin (expanded edition): Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. Penguin, 2009.






Infographics, Information Design, & Gestalt Principles – what it brings to the table

Recall and/or review the section “A Few Definitions” in the Design for Information Text’s Introduction. Then, compare the InfoDesignResource site (interactive) versus some standard infographics examples:

Prototype: Information Design Resource

Information design resource prototype: an introduction

30 Infographics about Infographics (Inspired Magazine, July 2012)

Infographic on Infographics

How to Create an Awesome Infographic (Mashable)

Rise of the Infographic

Rise of Infographics: Marketing in the Social-Media Age

Alice in Wonderland: An Illustrated Infographic Story   

For your blog post, write about and/or provide visual examples about the pros and cons. Which are easier/harder to generate? Which are easier/harder to view/comprehend as the intended audience?


Taking a moment to review the section “A Few Definitions” in Design for Information by Isabel Meirelles (pg. 11) I think I can finally understand Information Design more so than I did at the start of this class.  The graphic design community mostly uses two terms for visual displays of information: infographics and information design.  Infographics basically stand’s for visual displays in which graphics (maps, illustrations, symbols, diagrams, and so on) together with verbal language communicate information that would not be possible otherwise.  Information Design, on the other hand, is broadly used to describe communication design practices in which the main purpose is to inform, in contrast to persuasive approaches more commonly used in practices such as advertising.  (Meirelles, pg 11)

So, if I wanted to incorporate visually what I see both of these as I would see Infographics like this:


Or another way of looking at Infographics:


While Information Design would be similar, it isn’t.  Information Design entails this:



Overall they are the same concepts, though structured differently.  The way I see it one can’t work without the other.  Which leads me to the question which is easier/harder to generate and easier/harder to comprehend for its audience?  I have to say reading Gestalt Principles I found it rather usual for gathering data.  Their work consisted of primarily sensory perception.  The theory proposes that the perception of elements (examples: visual, musical, etc.) depends upon contextual and structural relations.  I think the concept of simplistic and showing adds to the ease of use when it comes to this principle.  Considering it is widely used and based on sensory perception it gives clear and precise data that can be easily incorporated with any type of visual (map, illustrations, etc.).



I think considering that both are so well integrated that it has become easier even through the years as we become more acclimated to technology.  Unless you are reborn or believe in reincarnation (which I believe or would like to believe), then I think most of us will only witness a sheer part of this new Information Design and Infographics.  It has evolved that I see it becoming much bigger in the future.

The cons could be information overload.  Either too much or not enough information.  In the long run, I think data has been manipulated and brought together in ways that have simplified what thousands upon thousands of printed paper once upon a time used.  Meirelles’s text explains in 6 chapters what each of these interactive structures brings to the table.  Trees that organizes the data in a way to better understand it.  Relational Structures that bring each network together to send and receive that data.  Temporal Structures that emphasize timelines and flow. Spatial Structures that gives us data in the forms of maps. Spatio-Temporal Structures that deal with changes across time and space but could also be closely similar to Temporal Structures.  And, finally, Textural Structures.  Each of these parts of Information Design come together and ultimately, I think, will take over the internet and most businesses outlook on advertising in the near and further out future.  That is, if we don’t, destroy our own planet.

Mark Smiciklas book states the brain is designed to seek out things that are different.  I have to agree.  If all we saw were words on a paper or whatever those words were on, I think we would lose that part of us that is very sensory: our eyes.  They say your eyes are the windows to your souls.  I think it’s more to the point that they are our souls, yes, but it’s much broader. They are part of our senses that help us see, envision, and create.  I know that some don’t have all of their senses, but those handicapped by this enhances their other senses allowing their brain to design differently and uniquely.  Perhaps helping their brain adapt to things even more so than those with all senses.  I think, making them extraordinary in this sense! This is how I understood Smiciklas’s first chapter.  Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, Kinesthetic.  Each of those based on the VARK model people use these learning styles to process information.  These are the fundamental skills that aid in the process that brings new meaning to what does interactive bring to the table.  Information that is given so we can design it to be interpreted in a way that will be best understood.  It is all up to interpretation and how that information/infographics design delivers.  It will definitely be interesting to see how it evolves.



Meirelles, Isabel. Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations. Rockport publishers, 2013. (pages 25 &189)

Smiciklas, Mark. “The Power of Infographics.” <i>Google Books</i>. QUE, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. &lt;;lpg=PP1&amp;ots=cNWJlk5jP8&amp;dq=infographics&amp;lr&amp;pg=PA3#v=onepage&amp;q=infographics&amp;f=true&gt;.

Infographics: LINK:

Infographics Design: LINK:

Elements of Information Design: LINK:×24.jpg

InfoDesign: LINK:

Isabel Meirelles LINK:

Hierarchical vs Textural Compare & Contrast

The Design for Information text provides many case studies, which are listed in the Index. While making sure to select two from different chapters, compare and contrast your choices. How could these types of information design be used within your major and/or fields of interest? If your choices of case studies list websites, be sure to visit them, investigate the sites, and provide links to them in your writing.


I had one of those moments of realization while doing my research for my 21st Century Careers class essay and am finding myself changing my path slightly.  I came into this class thinking I’d like to do Web Design with a side of writing.  While that has changed I’m leaning more towards pursuing writing, enhancing my bookkeeping skills with accounting and just Book Design.  I have a feeling at the end of the day I’ll be taking more classes that deal with A/R or A/P side of things.  So, why bring this up?  Simply because one of the questions asks how could these types of information design be used within your major and/or fields of interest?  I had to think of which two to compare and how they would be used for me and my indecisive mind.  However, considering the essay I am writing about this I have a strong feeling I am going in the right direction minus the Design side of things.  I have battled with this since starting.


Isabel Meirelles text Design for Information, an introduction to histories, theories, and best practices behind effective information visualizations chapters go in depth with the core of what truly makes up design information.

Chapter 1 Hierarchical Structures—Trees

Chapter 2 Relational Structures—Networks

Chapter 3 Temporal Structures—Timelines and Flows

Chapter 4 Spatial Structures—Maps

Chapter 5 Spatio-Temporal Structures—Changes across time and space

Chapter 6 Textual Structures—Text or writing

(A word cloud of the words above):

wordle 8

So, in saying this I leaned heavily towards Chapter 1 Hierarchical Structures: Trees and not surprisingly I was enamored by Chapter 6 Textual Structures especially the case study on using words and creating word clouds. This site takes common words and builds a word cloud that many of us have seen floating around the internet. For example, I took the Compare and Contrast question and built a word cloud on

wordle 14

However, before I get caught up in my compare and contrast I will step back and go over Isabel Meirelles text.  All of the chapters give us a great deal of information in regards to Design for Information.  Looking around us, we see Infographics all around whether it is a weather person giving us the weather or signs signaling the direction we need to go.  It is all around us.  I think the earliest form of Infographics is hieroglyphics 30,000 B.C.  Regardless Information Design has always been there in a visual and interactive sense.  As I was reading, I found it interesting that in spite of the pictures and words I still tend to be more Kinesthetic—People learn thoroughly through experience (by doing) mixed with some visual, little auditory, and a bit of read/write.  However, I will go more in depth with this on my blog. (Smiciklas pg. 8 and 11)

Hierarchical Structures/Trees and Textual Structures have a common theme: words amidst a drawing.  I can get behind this.  I think as early as my elementary school days and going to the Natural Museum of History is one of the best visuals of Hierarchical Structures AND Textural Structures out there.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying this museum can most likely cover all of Isabel Meirelles’s chapters. I bring the museum up as a point because of the timeline which is a part of Chapter 3 Temporal Structures, but can also be a part of Hierarchical Structures or Trees.  Simply put Hierarchical Structures are defined as a structure of data having several levels arranged in a treelike structure.  A treelike structure of information that can be related to people, animals, food pyramids, things, or data.

An example:


Or this simple one for the evolution of storytelling:


Oxford English Dictionary (pg. 25) Hierarchy: A body of persons or things ranked in grade, orders, or classes, one above the another; spec. in Natural Sciences and Logic, a system or series of terms of successive rank (as classes, orders, genera, species, etc.) used in classification.  Regardless, the information the result is still the same.  I can build a tree of my family, my history, even my classes or job skills.  It’s all based on information that is compiled by order, rank, class, or grade.

As for Textural Structures, I have to say it’s all about the words—text or written.  Most text documents such as books, news articles, tweets, and poems are unstructured data, in which they do not have predefined data models.  (pg. 189) Interestingly, enough I tried the case study Word Tree and even Phrase Net and wasn’t able to locate the page.  However, this was like in that you can create word clouds or structures with your data. Visualization of texts can be divided roughly into two groups.  One group uses language, per se, as the atomic visual element in displaying linguistic data.  The other uses external forms of data structures to visualize textual data, such as when we employ geographical or statistical methods to depict patterns in texts. (pg. 189) I think a lot of this can be construed with all the chapter topics.  They are all similar and yet different in some aspects.  I personally, feel that with both Hierarchical and Textual that these would be fundamental for me in either field I choose.  Whether it is a writer, book designer, bookkeeper, or business administration specifically human resources I think I can apply either of these to any situation within that field.  It could be an excel sheet of data, or writing a letter, it will apply.  I actually worried about this assignment as I wasn’t into the reading as much as I would have been.  The sites helped!  However, these two I did connect more with.  I’m a little surprised I wasn’t more into the Geography because I do enjoy maps and weather related models.  I would have found plenty of infographic models including this.  Interesting module.



Meirelles, Isabel. Design for Information: An Introduction to the Histories, Theories, and Best Practices Behind Effective Information Visualizations. Rockport publishers, 2013. (pages 25 &189)

Smiciklas, Mark. “The Power of Infographics.” <i>Google Books</i>. QUE, n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. &lt;;lpg=PP1&amp;ots=cNWJlk5jP8&amp;dq=infographics&amp;lr&amp;pg=PA3#v=onepage&amp;q=infographics&amp;f=true&gt;.


evolution tree:
Age of Man:



Information Design Process

Write a post on your blog that explains the process of Information Design that have been discussed in this module’s readings. Are there any steps you would add to the process? How do you think the process can be improved?  What do you believe to be the most important step of the process? These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself. In your blog post, also outline what you have done so far or plan to do at each step of the process in your blog.

When your blog post is complete, return to this forum and create a new topic to share the URL of your post. Then visit at least two classmates’ blogs and respond to their M3 post.


I’ve thought long and hard how to answer this question.  I’m not sure I can do it justice, but we’ll see as I’m learning  that I am leaning towards the visuals rather than the words of the texts.  I am not a huge fan of outlining because I tend to go overboard with it by getting too caught up in the details and not give what is truly needed.  I think this is my biggest setback when I have tried to follow a blueprint/outline to writing a story.  I get stuck on the minuscule details and lose the flow.  Aside from that the chapters from Roam seem awfully close to home in regards to my jobs process of their plan for the non-profit company I work for.  I’ve mentioned that my employer implemented a plan in hopes of improving the effectiveness of their Mission.  I think the way it was given to the employees that it was a huge blazing sign of a lot of changes to come that could result in layoffs.  I have to be frank here and looking at what Roam discusses with hierarchy and blueprints in a business context is rather alarming when using this against my current employer.  We have a huge organizational chart.  I could use it here, but it is rights protected.  We are stationed all over the world but operates primarily out of Maryknoll, New York.  Yes, they have their own city/town and zip code.  They can’t completely go out of business, but they can downsize and at a rapid pace.  We are run by Society members who are Brothers or Fathers, but they are dwindling at a very rapid rate.  They have let in very few younger generation Fathers and Brothers.  I would think this has to do with the generations not focusing too much on a belief system than the technological world we are more and more each day facing.  Suffice it to say, the younger generation doesn’t care much for religion or mission.  They believe more in helping and aiding others through other non-profit needs.  I am starting to think they need someone like Dan Roam to come in and revamp the entire Society.  What that could mean for my job and contribution, I’d rather not think about, for now.

So, even though, ironically, the information from Dan Roam’s The Back of the Napkin has been informative in my case with my current employer it has been quite telling in regards to the structure of business’s as a whole. As I contemplated this I came across this picture while searching the net:

I have learned a great deal about Dan Roam’s 6 W’s and <6><6> (What we see and what we show) methods.  Within each step, he has a process that determines where on the hierarchy or structure each individual stands and that even someone on the low totem pole can be the missing link to someone of a higher level.  It was almost like an outside looking in concept to help improve the efficiency of the company.  With the above visual I can see this being a very big process should I move further into another field in my career.  That we need to sort out the details to get the bigger picture.  This is what my first step would entail.  Unfortunately, in some cases it might look a bit sloppy and fairly disorganized:

However, with the method of SQVID and <6><6> there can be a determined framework to fix the mess that was piling from the start.  I think with the previous chapters in Part 2 Lila was an excellent example of how she came in to reorganize and basically get rid of the trash.  My weakest of the 6 W’s is about compiling everything and sorting through the mess.  I would get lost in the details.  However, the who/what, meaning that we saw objects that we recognize because of the distinct visual qualities: their components, shape, proportion, size, color, texture, etc.  These provide the starting point by helping us identify and keep track of who is who and what is what. (Roam pg.144)  Considering this for a moment Who/What plays an intricate role and the most important.  It is the seed or the stem of the entire network.  The simple versus the elaborate.  I’ve seen a great comparison of an apple used quite frequently in each of the models Roam uses.  From a seed to a full-grown apple, to either eaten to the core, made into a pie then eaten.  It is a process just like in the business world.  You have you, your client, customers, and teams.  With an apple, it starts as a seed then develops into a grown apple to be harvested and eaten.  It can branch out to many different ways to how an apple can be used.  The same can be said for a company and it’s hierarchy.  Then when the mess clears there’s a better understanding of who/what the company is and about.  You then begin to get a bigger picture of what you need and what to improve.  Which brings me to the next portion how much?  This portion of the 6 W’s is not my favorite as I’m not a big number’s person, but love to input those number’s.  With this I found this to help me better understand the 6 W’s:

That in the end you have to know exactly how many or how much you need in order to get to where, when, and to think later on who they link or why it works like that.

The key elements:

The above two images are essentially the same concept.  The top one shows how the process is continuous while the bottom image shows just the process.  Frankly, Roam’s idea of drawing the idea out has merit.  I would most likely do as the book suggested and draw out my visuals but tack on words with those visuals.  I guess that is why I was in the yellow pen category.  I can’t draw, but…  The above to me suggest a few things:

  • Research and discover what or who you need
  • Synthesis by defining and ideating your structure/scope/scenario, wireframes/flowcharts, with sensemaking and visualizing information
  • Prototype and testing – generating and testing concepts
  • Iteration by revising prototypes based on user observations internal/external

Within these steps of organizing and collecting data that was gathered in some strategic or creative way that will inspire, not only for brainstorming but effective thinking.

I think the perfect example for me in this situation could be this WordPress page, but idealistically I think my LiveJournal page might be more effective.

Who or What am I targeting?

I think the better term is People are a part of the Puzzle they help piece together what makes up LiveJournal so successful just as Blogger and WordPress has.

My LiveJournal page is primarily used for creative works, a journal of thoughts, and for my peers to read.  I belong to quite a few communities and friends of those communities who express thoughts and read anything of mine that I have publicized for their viewing.  My target audience is those who are writers, artists, or peers.  My journal is locked to others.

How much and Why?

I generally use this site when my creative muse is inspired.  It also helps me to see others in my community embrace their creative side so that I can respond and interact with them.  It does cost to use if you don’t want to have unnecessary ads, but it’s really only if you are on the site excessively that I would recommend purchasing.  As for why?  It helps the creative juices flow and extends a branch out to those who have like interests and a love for writing.

Where and When?

Where is simply the site I go to and when is how often I use it.

The bigger questions would be: Why do it and Why it works like this?

I think given the fact that we live in this world that we might not all be satisfied by what we are given we tend to embrace our creative sides to try to better what we have seen or heard by giving our own views on them.  Whether it is a fan based story, picture, or thoughtful words, or a blog solely to reviewing works, things, or etc.  It is there for all to use.  It works to bring others together through words and pictures.  Not a bad concept, I think.  Considering the background work that involves this site, I have to wonder about the testing and tech aspects they endure on a daily basis.

In conclusion, I hope I walked away with some concept of this subject matter.  I think I have a clearer understanding of it and wish I could have these methods used in my employers planning for their new Plan for our Society.  Alas, maybe I should point them in Dan Roam’s direction on how to build a better Society?  Something to think about!

As I have bombarded this Post with lots of visuals I will now end with this in closing that found rather chaotic, but well in the spectrum of what Dan Roam wants a comic page on Visual Thinking:

The above image embodies want I see is the thought process of Visual Thinking and how it can relate to Dan Roam’s 6 W’s and his process of what we see and what we show by developing ideas.


All images above have links embedded

Baer, Kim, and Jill Vacarra. Information Design Workbook: Graphic Approaches, Solutions, and Inspiration 30 Case Studies. Beverly, Mass.: Rockport, 2008. Print.

Cross, Neal. “M3 Instructor Commentary.” Moodle: Authentication Choice. State University of New York Empire State College. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Roam, Dan. The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures. New York: Portfolio, 2008. Print.

Pros and Cons of Horns Information Mapping vs. My preferred Methodologies

Recall your preferred theory from this module’s discussion forum. Now, for the blogging assignment, select a different theory of Information Design and create a post on your blog that explicates both the pros and cons of that particular theory. In fact, if you want to elaborate on your least favorite theory, be sure to note it as such within your post. This same post will also need to explain how your chosen theory of Information Design could be implemented in a blog environment, and demonstrate how you could be using or plan to use your selected theory in practice on your own class blog.

As discussed in the previous discussion forum, I had a hard time narrowing down where I fell on the spectrum of my preferred methodology theory.  I related pretty well to Brenda Dervin’s, but I also was intrigued with Nathan Shedroff’s user-centered approach.  I will still stand by and argue the point that they are ultimately very similar in what they plan to achieve.  My favorite method, so far, has been the 6 W’s and the <6><6> (What we see and what we show). (Roam) Being the analytical person I can be they seem logical in this perspective that I would lean more towards this approach.  However, I have battled with where I stood on each of their theories and came to the conclusion that I am more like Brenda Dervin’s approach.  She classifies Sense-Making a type of theory of information design that is not a new field, but we are just now classifying it as such.  There has always been data in the world that has needed to be designed when we create information in order to make sense of all the data being thrown at us.  Even with new technology it still allows for us to do what we’ve always done, but at a much larger scale.  (M2 Instructor Commentary) It was in her lists that I finally found what I related to, Mandates a particular kind of theory, one that focuses on information as made and unmade in communication; as designed by all humans, individually and collectively, in struggle and meditation; as relevant to both making and unmaking order and chaos; as relevant not only to the centered human but also the decentered human; as pertinent to the human heart, body, and spirit as well as the human mind.  This theory of information design would mean that we create order out of chaos and chaos out of order when order restricts or constrains them.  In other words, this would redefine what we mean as failure and success.  Information design is a tool designed by human beings to make sense of a reality assumed to be both chaotic and orderly.  (Jacobson, pgs. 39-43)

Having said that and reflected, I still feel I fall a bit on each of the theories except for Robert E. Horn’s.  Maybe it could be how I see myself as such, or the fact I didn’t quite get his ideology.  I just couldn’t grasp his methodology at all.  “The art and science of preparing information so that it can be used by human beings with efficiency and effectiveness.”  I would get the sense that this was more centered on the histories of Information Design and given today’s technology this new profession of historicizing it isn’t as incorporated as the other methodologies are.  I understand that by looking at the history of information design we can get an idea of the different components it contains and where the field might be going in the future.

Let’s examine this the non-profit organization I work for is undertaking the task of implementing a new plan for the Society.  It sounds great, but the full picture of this plan doesn’t appeal or look good for a good majority of employees working for them.  Taking into consideration Horn’s theory the history behind the first plan for the organization I work for it is still the same.  They are all about mission and helping others to achieve the help they need.  I think in the society we live in that most have backed away from what religion represents these days.  I know I have.  I’d never tell anyone what they would want to believe in, but to have it thrust upon me, is another story.  Yes, I work in a very catholic organization and I don’t practice it, at all.  I’ve watched this society for nearly a decade and I have to wonder: why now?  We recently acquired a woman who, like Lila (Roam), to help with restructuring.  They want to implement the term: connect the dots, connect their employees to work in an efficient and effective way.  However, this plan has produced some panicked and concerned dedicated employees on the stability of their jobs.


Using Horns method, which it seems likely that the Society I work for has done, it seems like it is benefiting some and not all.  When I hear terms like outsourcing our mail and think of what information mapping is, I have to wonder what they plan to accomplish if not condensing employees.  While Information Mapping sounds like a great concept, I think it falls short on the follow through.  We are a mailing facility that offers a service to donors to help aid in our mission to help others.  I know they did an outstanding job for Nepal when they were in crisis and I know we will also lend a helping hand with our mission when Mexico needs aid.  This is how Maryknoll, the organization I work for operates.  We have project managers that oversee programs and we work to provide the aid, just as a charity or an organization like the Red Cross would.  Of course, we need the information mapping as the building blocks to information design.  I just have to wonder what as a Design Society this will accomplish?

The Pros are definitely what I imagine them to be: compiling the information and mapping them with this discipline with efficiency and effectiveness.  The Cons is that it may not always be effective or efficient.  You will run into road blocks and as I suggested panicked and concerned human beings.  In chapter 5, The Six Ways of Seeing Dan Roam Lila left a company that would bend over backward for her.  She took on a challenge to rebuild a Chocolate Company that needed her training management skills.  When she ran into some struggles she had to think outside the box and work a new plan to help achieve a better training plan for all the employees.  I can argue this was an implemented theory of Horns by having the information mapped out, but really she used the 6 W’s that helped her see the big picture.  Lila effectively and efficiently spun a new pattern of training in a way that helped this company.  She didn’t use information mapping, she actually, in my opinion, with the 6 W’s and <6><6> what we see and what we show ended up using a variety of methodology theories that worked for this Chocolate Company.  After reading the about Nathan Shedroff’s and even the theorist Brenda Dervin, I started thinking.  Did she possibly utilize his and Dervin’s and how?  I think she took all the information she acquired and used the 6 W’s and <6><6>, but I think she did a bit more than that to get the success she had with the new training plan.  She took chaos and made it orderly while transforming it into meaningful information creating a story with interaction design and employing all the senses in the display field heading as it expands to encompass more and more of the disciplines.  She did an outstanding thing by re-writing what an old system wasn’t making work for them.  And this is why I truly believe that Horn’s theory while a sound theory it is not up to par as the others.  I gather its information is effective and efficient, but the big picture leaves us with much to be desired.

I’ve found that since hearing this new plan being drafted for where I work and hearing from a co-worker who previously worked for Reader’s Digest that this is a domino effect.  Instead of using a methodology they are implementing ways of cutting costs to effectively and efficiently (Horn’s Information Mapping) still work their mission.  In the end, avoiding a Reader’s Digest or unfounded employee cut could be helped by using other methods and Roam’s ideas.  It will be very telling in the coming second draft what that will be and if a new method to their plan will be executed.

Works cited:

Jacobson, Robert. Information design. MIT press, 2000.

Roam, Dan. The back of the napkin (expanded edition): Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. Penguin, 2009.

What is Information Design?

When I think of Information Design I imagine data and pictures that are relayed to what our minds are perceiving.  However, the technical definition of Information Design can be describes the discipline as “…the translating [of] complex, unorganized, or unstructured data into valuable, meaningful information.” (Baer, p.12)

Although, having said that, I tend to think that it is still up for debate and discussion.  It is more complex and that the true meaning will be something that is constantly changing.  I’m not sure I get Information Design completely.  I do understand that to distinguish between what works–what makes sense–and what does not.  (Jacobson, p. 6) This I can understand completely.  A lot of this is subject to interpretation.  I still believe that what one thinks will not always be what another thinks.  Perception and Intuitions seems to be a key ingredient, but so do visuals and brainstorming.  Recognizing this fact is something I am doing in my current job.  We have a new program called Connect the Dots.  We are all coming together, brainstorming, and operating as one unit in harmony.  Of course nothing is ever that perfect, but it is a concept that is being used with businesses and their effectiveness as a whole.  I also find this is a good way to improve working relationships between management and employees.  With the use of diagrams, visuals, maps, we can make our progression go even further.  (Cross, Commentary)

I find Information Design is a way for us to advertise or communicate data through information systems, wayfinding systems (search engines), visualizations of statistical data.  It will be very interesting to see how this will continue to progress.  As Instructor Neal Cross points out: Who is your audience? (Cross, Commentary) I find this extremely important to one such as myself in writing.  Considering most information design tasks target a specific audience, this is definitely something a writer or editor would need to have.  I find the W’s as Roam pointed out are very significant: who, what, when, where, why, and how or how much.  The steps Roam outlines of visual thinking: looking, seeing, imagining, and showing are definitely in the realm of what is ideal for information design.  I have to wonder if one doesn’t have one of those senses how these steps are achieved.  I am going to believe that this will be something we will consider through this course.  This term I hope that this will help me to visualize as much as I formulate and gather data.

I happened across another wordpress page that I finally got some bit of a clue what this class will entail.  I recommend all to read the page as it pertains to the class.


If you will notice by the image this is a very complex view of the process of Information Design.  This image is also a product of information design.  I really hope to get a better grasp of this and to use this in my current job and for the future.

Works cited:

Sheila Pontis Effective Information Design

Baer, Kim. Information Design Workbook. Rockport. Massachusetts. 2009. Page. 12.

Jacobson, Robert E. Information Design. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 1999. Page 6-13. Print.

Cross, Neal. “M1 Instructor Commentary.” Moodle: Authentication Choice. State University of New York Empire State College, 22 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2015. <;

Roam, Dan. The back of the napkin (expanded edition): Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. Penguin, 2009



This page is for my Information Design class.  I look forward to hearing from you all!