The concept for this piece changed over time, many times, until I decided to make another infographic about the nuclear powers and the amount of nuclear weapons that each of them possesses. It is a topic that is always in flux, so I wanted to show the most current information (July 2013) in a simple way. I did so in a dark-humored sort of way, that might lend to the unease of the topic.
In order to elicit this dark humor, I decided to make things rather rustic and roughly done. However, I needed it to still be simple and easy to understand. To do this I used the basic and well-known shape of a bomb and some color organization of the countries throughout. The radioactive symbol at the beginning starts the whole piece off on a darker tone as well.
When it came to the colors and type, it all had to reflect back on wrath and the topic of nuclear weaponry. The colors were an easier element to implement, as one of the first colors that comes to mind when wrath, or nuclear war is uttered is that of red. In order to make the colors easier to differentiate, however, I extended the mix into oranges and pinks as well. They are all still in the warmer range of colors, but bright and pop against the crumpled paper background.
For the type, I eventually decided to do a handwritten type. To do this, I made my own typeface that was hand drawn and then implemented it for all of the type. It is rough and mainly in all caps so as to define hierarchy and also to make it bolder, as if the information is screaming at you.
Finally, the imagery was very simply done, but informative and powerful I believe. It not only provides information visually, but verbally as well through some hard numbers. The radioactive symbol at the start gets the user in the frame of mind for what will come next. Then the bomb I used is the typical little-man bomb that one often sees in association with 1950’s bomb types. The color blocks then emphasize what powers in the world hold the most nuclear threat, and it is made very clear with the interactivity.
Overall, I think that the animation illustrated the point of wrath when it comes to world powers and the threat of nuclear weapons. It communicated this information simply and with hierarchy so that the user can focus on the message that it is communicating.
My concept for this piece was that of sex trafficking and its increasing predominance in the United States. Sex trafficking is a topic that is often associated with countries beyond our borders, and I wanted to show that it is something very near to home. I decided to focus on identifying the typical victims and suspects of this crime in order to put a face to those abused and their abusers. I felt that this identification would make the information strike closer to home.
I wanted the overall tone and feel of the infographic to be very somber and ominous. In order to have the maximum effect, I wanted everything to be very simple and easy to understand so as to place emphasis on the subject. I also wanted this information to prompt some action as well from the user, even if it is just looking up the sources and informing themselves from there.
In order to reflect this somber and dreary mood, I needed to have the type and colors reflect as such. I decided to keep all of the colors very muted and neutral except for the colors denoting the victim and suspect. The victim’s color I made blue in order to denote a sense of calm and good, while the suspect’s color is notably red in order to signify danger. For the type, I wanted a rough-hewn quality to reflect the stained background that I had in place, so I used Veneer. Then to make the facts as legible as possible, I used Univers Condensed. It is still rigid, however, so it still conveys a certain tension.
The imagery was very basic, but simple and powerful I believe. I boiled my concept of identification down to the very simple idea of fingerprint identification. Everyone has a fingerprint, so that is a touchpoint that viewers can connect with. Then the interface is very easy to use because it is a simple act of choosing points on the fingerprints to reveal the information.
Overall I think that this animation illustrated my point and drove home the fact that there is a proliferation of human trafficking in the United States. It communicated this fact very simply and elegantly, which helps the user to focus on the content rather than the usability of the interface itself.
Tutorial URL Links
Lynda.com • Edge Animate Essential Training Videos
Lynda.com • Creating Animated Infographics
Heathrowe.com • Show/Hide Toggling
After thinking my original concept through, I decided that I ought to change it and show something else that I felt was a deeper part of me. This is the struggle that introverts have in an extrovert-ideal world. As an introvert, I feel that I am constantly criticized for my tendencies towards quiet. This is what spawned the idea for “The Introvert Lament.” I decided that I was going to showcase the overwhelming feeling of the extrovert-ideal on an introverted person, and the contrast within that.
Without much thought, I knew that the overall tone and feel of the piece had to be more somber and melancholy. However, this did not mean that it had to be overwhelmingly depressing. To convey this more moody melancholy, I decided to keep it very simple and hand drawn to introduce a bit of whimsy into the piece that would keep it from being too somber. Even the type was hand drawn, not only to fit with the style, but to suggest that a raw human being was behind its creation and not simply a computer.
When it came to color, I at first was going to use a pale blue to highlight the cascading words. However, I soon realized that I could create more contrast and impact if I kept everything in the “quiet zone” neutral and then introduced bright flashing colors once the noise picked up. Thus I kept everything in the beginning black, white and grey only to turn to color once the noise is introduced.
Keeping with this color style and the hand drawn elements, I wanted to find some music that would start off lilting and then increase in a noisy crescendo. After many hours of searching and not finding anything (due to my own pickiness), I decided to create my own from two tracks that possessed elements I wanted: a melodic beginning and a crashing ending. While it is not precisely what I initially envisioned, I believe that it accurately conveys the contrast that I was going for between quiet and noise.
The final element that I believe carries through my theme is that of the movement of simple elements. I purposefully wanted the initial moving shapes to be simple so as to focus on movement and color, rather than the design of the shapes themselves. I use soft grey circles at first to communicate quiet and have the words ‘quiet’, ‘thinkers’ and ‘leaders’ pop out from them and descend down as well. I incorporated some interaction when it came to the first dark square popping the last ‘leaders bubble’. As I played with more interaction between the elements I decided that the overall piece began to look herky jerky and didn’t flow with the continuity that I had so far. I did, however, have more pointed shapes flow into the screen to convey harshness as the noise picks up. The pace becomes faster as the intensity of music does until it crescendos into a fit of color and sketchy type to convey the oppression of the quiet by the noise.
Overall, I believe that the combination of all of these elements served to illustrate my point of the contrast between quiet and noise. The introvert and the extrovert ideal. I believe that the marriage of the music and the images creates a memorable message that people could recall in conversation. I would hope to expand on this piece more as my skills increase.
Tutorial URL Links
Lynda.com • Edge Animate Essential Training Videos
Adding Sound Effects
At first I chose “Your Tour” because of the cool and clean UI first presented. I also chose it because it was associated with Google, and Google usually puts out things that are very cool technologically, but also appeals to us as humans. This is seen especially with their ads, and the title of “Your Tour” just continued to demonstrate their way of emotionally drawing in an audience. Once I began to play with it, however, I knew that I just had to explore it further. The purpose of the site is to take the user on the Tour de France from start to finish. It also weaves in history and social media posts to really show the user what it was like, and how people are feeling about it now. It also seeks to immerse the user with photos and videos that make the user feel as if they are on the trail.
I would say that the user profile boils down to anyone who has an interest in the Tour de France, or a fascination with the technology that Google used to put it together. The ages range anywhere 15 and over, mainly because of the universal appeal of the Tour de France itself. It is an enigma in sporting culture, and even in common culture, as it is the ultimate test of endurance and strength. These are two things that most of us aspire to have. The majority of users probably have interests in biking, sports, endurance races, the race itself and/or the technology that made this experience possible.
Most users would range anywhere from student, to banker, to nurse and everything in between. Again, I believe because the Tour de France appeals to the basic human desire to win despite obstacles. This opens this site up to appeal to the masses. The race itself comprises of athletes from all over the world, so many various cultural backgrounds are invested in this race. Perhaps, however, the dominant culture would be the United States, because of our emphasis on sports and the fact that Google is an American-based company. Yet, the site is also available in French, so it opens it up to anyone who knows English and/or French at the very least. The user would need definite access to broadband, and probably would be more adept at technical abilities. The instructions however are very clear, so even more novice users of technology would be able to follow along.
The UI itself is very clean and keeps to the Google brand in color, type and whimsical but intelligent feel. There is a static grey bar at the bottom that when using the site, displays the progress along the “stage” that you are in. The images that you see before you switch between video, images, Google Maps and graphics all depicting the journey you are on. In the beginning, there are clear instructions on how to move through the site (fast paced scrolling!) and reminder arrows pop up in case you stop.
I believe this all works very well, as it gives a good platform for the images displayed as well as makes the user feel immersed. The colors, while vivid, are used sparingly and do not detract from the content presented. They made a wise choice in choosing a tar grey and a yellow reminiscent of street lines. It all subconsciously adds to the feel of being on the road. If there is anything that doesn’t feel right, it is the distracting “Report a Problem” and “Images © 2010 Google” tabs that pop up in the content window as you bike through the stage. They are distracting and I believe would have better been placed in the static menu bar below with all of the other items that are more global nav-oriented.
As I mentioned before, the navigation directions given are clear, concise and in big bold type. Every stage operates by the same scrolling method, and there is always a big “back” button in the top left corner in order to return to the beginning. Language options are easily seen in the menu below as are links that lead you to social media, the Tour’s main website and an About pop-up. Because this is created by Google, a lot of the familiar elements you see in Google Maps are still present and function in the same way. For instance, you scroll through a stage until you get to a Google Map of the route. There is the typical compass in the bottom left corner though, that lets you navigate the map like you would any other.
The few things that didn’t work, are perhaps more based the user’s accessibility to the site. Moving through the site is all based on fast-paced scrolling, which is simple for those of us with touch mouse pads. However, if one was using a typical mouse with a wheel scroll, I can see how the movement between video, maps and photos would be more jerky and less fluid. Also, as wonderful and exciting it is to scroll quickly through the images as if you are racing with merely two of your digits, it gets fatiguing. If one played with this all day, carpal tunnel would be looming on the horizon. If there was an option to play through the content without scrolling, I think that would better accommodate more users.