Jan 15 2010

Fantastic Information Architecture and Data Visualization Resources

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Information architecture can be a daunting subject for designers who’ve never tried it before. Also, creating successful infographics and visualizations takes skill and practice, along with some advance planning. But anyone with graphic design skills can learn to create infographics that are effective and get data across in a user-friendly manner.

Below are a collection of resources to get you going down the information architecture and data visualization path. Whether you just want to become more familiar with infographics and data visualizations for occasional use or are thinking of making it a career, the resources below will surely come in handy. There are also some beautiful examples and more roundups to see even more fantastic graphics.

1. Information Architecture Design Sites

Information architecture can be so complex, it’s no wonder there are entire sites dedicated to it. The sites below range from sites of individual information architects who share resources with their colleagues, to professional organizations, to design sites that include extensive information architecture resources.

Info Design Patterns

infodesignpatterns

Info Design Patterns offers up information architecture news (a fairly new section without a lot of content) and a searchable database of info design patterns. The pattern database is particularly useful for those trying to decide how they want to display a set of data to their users or readers. Some of the patterns include:

InfoDesign

infodesign

InfoDesign is an excellent resource for anyone interested in information architecture. They have hundreds of articles aggregated and broken down into categories including accessibility, content strategy, interaction design, prototyping and more. Articles featured on the site include:

Information Design Watch

informationdesignwatch

Information Design Watch from Dynamic Diagrams offers a newsletter and regular articles on information design from around the world. They include tons of great, real-world examples of infographics and information architecture designs, and are a great resource if you’re looking for some inspiration. Some of their posts include:

UXBooth – Information Architecture

UX Booth

UXBooth is a community blog about usability, user experience and information architecture. The “Information Architecture” section currently contains only three articles, but the quality of each article is always top notch.

Design Crux – Information Design

designcruxinformationdesign

Information Design from Design Crux offers up articles on information architecture and design examples. Both are excellent resources, with the examples being particularly inspiring. Some of their articles include:

Cool Infographics

coolinfographics

Cool Infographics is a blog that collects interesting infographics from around the web and beyond. It’s definitely a first-rate resource for finding inspiration and examples of great infographics and information architecture designs. Some recent posts include:

JJG.net

jjgnet

JJG.net offers up resources for experience design and information architecture written by Jesse James Garrett. There are downloadable PDFs, articles, and interviews and other resources included. Some examples of articles included are:

Information Architecture from A List Apart

alistapartinformationarchitecture

A List Apart has an excellent Information Architecture category with more than 20 great articles (dating back as far as 2000). Some articles included are:

Boxes and Arrows

boxesandarrows

Boxes and Arrows is an excellent blog that explores why designs work and how to design better based on user experience data. Some example posts include:

Information Design from AIGA

aigainformationdesign

AIGA has an Information Design section on their website with a dozen articles. While it’s not a huge resource, the articles are very high quality and include:

Good Magazine

goodmagazine

Good Magazine has an excellent collection of infographics covering a very broad range of topics. This is an excellent resource if you’re looking for inspiration. Some examples include:

Flowing Data

flowingdata

Flowing Data showcases infographics covering a variety of subjects. They collect graphics from all over the web and explain why the graphic works well. Some example posts include:

2. Information Architecture Articles and Resources

The articles and resources listed below appear on sites that don’t focus solely on information architecture. They’re as useful as the resources above, but focus on individual aspects of information design. Some excellent beginners guides and tutorials are also included here.

Organic Information Design

organicinformationdesign

The Organic Information Design PDF is from Ben Fry, and served as his Master’s Thesis at the MIT Media Lab. It introduces a new type of interactive information design using large quanities of data from dynamic sources.

The Information Design Approach to Web Development

infodesignapproachtowebdev

This article from Digital Web Magazine offers up a new approach to web development using information design techniques. It’s a great resource for both information architects and web developers.

InfoGraphic Designs: Overview, Examples and Best Practices

inforgraphicdesignsoverview

This post from instantShift is one of the more comprehensive beginner’s guides to information architecture. It includes advice on how to design around a given set of data and offers some amazing examples of successful information design.

Information Architecture Tutorial

informationarchitecturetutorial

This is a complete tutorial series from Webmonky on how to create successful information graphics. There are five parts, each addressing a different aspect of information architecture in depth.

Complete Beginners Guide to Information Architecture

beginnersguidetoinfoarchitecture

This is another comprehensive article geared toward those just starting out with information architecture and infographics. It includes some background information, links to notable information architects, resources, and links to common tools used in creating infographics.

3. Excellent Examples of Data Visualization

Below are some beautiful examples of infographics to get your creative juices flowing. They cover everything from pop culture (The Best Beer in America, Kill Bill) to political issues (Presidential First 100 Days in Office) to global environmental issues (No More Fish in the Sea, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch).

LifeMap

lifemap

Dentro de la cabeza de Bob Dylan

dentrodelacabezadebobdylan

Infografias

infografias

The Best Beer in America

bestbeerinamerica

Kill Bill Infographic

killbillinfographic

Suburban Bliss

suburbanbliss

No More Fish in the Sea

nomorefishinthesea

The First 100 Days: Roosevelt to Obama

first100days

Vampire Energy

vampireenergy

On Driving

ondriving

Periodic Table of Typefaces

periodictableoftypefaces

Flickr User Model, v0.3

flickrusermodel

How Education Spending Affects Graduation Rates

howeducationspendingaffectsgradrates

The Most Committed Crimes in the Country

themostcommittedcrimes

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

greatpacificgarbagepatch

4. Other Roundups

Below are a few more roundups of information graphics and data visualizations. They include tons of great examples to inspire you and give you ideas.

About the Author

Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with many years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.

Comments and Discussions
  • kishore, 15 January 2010

    Great ! I’ve already bookmarked the page.

  • This wonderful! So useful!

    Thank you so much

    • Spanish, 21 May 2010

      you are wonderful!!!!! Beauty

  • Jordan Walker, 15 January 2010

    Visualizing data makes it more palatable.

  • A.J., 15 January 2010

    Thank you, very useful and while our IA, Design and Front-End talent are well versed – I’ve recommended this to account, biz-dev, media and analytics staff as well.

  • Alexandre, 15 January 2010

    Nice job!
    I liked all links. Very useful.

  • @brett2point0, 15 January 2010

    Well done. Illustrates exactly why data visualization proves “smarter” than spreadsheets alone!

  • Brenda Banning, 15 January 2010

    Thanks for the Great Post. Love the visualisations. Also like that Info Arch and Visualisation are presented together as architecture artefacts need to promote communication between all stakeholders and the visualisations provide inspiration to think outside of the modelling languages many IT architects employ

  • Bryan McAnulty, 16 January 2010

    Great resources and examples! A few sites there that I haven’t heard of before.

  • baterya, 19 January 2010

    thanks for this wonderful post. excellent resources and examples….

  • Robert, 07 February 2010

    Wow! I like Infographs and the links are great. Thank You very much.

  • Thaddeus Thieme, 11 February 2010

    The full post as well as many more can be viewed by dropping bythis page?

  • Designs Wallet, 22 February 2010

    really helpful

  • Tutorials Palace, 22 February 2010

    Wonderful resources

  • Rolf Swefford, 12 April 2010

    Look! it’s a magnificent building and house layout from Design (Cayman) Ltd. I’m fond of architectural layout like this, it seems really fascinating! You must completely fully grasp what the architectural design is. And it appears Architect designing these patterns are accredited professionals, I do not know what exactly is the expense, lol! Nevertheless, I want to have initiatives on the best way to create basic designs. I am aspiring to become a vivid architectural designer.

  • Sammie Scaff, 13 April 2010

    In short, architects need to be a lot more than just plain architects.

  • Alfred Inselberg, 16 April 2010

    May I suggest that you also consider

    Parallel Coordinates – This book is about visualization, systematically incorporating the fantastic human pattern recognition into the problem-solving …
    http://www.springer.com/mathematics/numerical…/978-0-387-21507-5 -

    which is now available. It contains an easy to read chapter (10) on Data Mining. Among others, I received a wonderful compliment from Stephen Hawking who also recommended this “valuable book” to his students.

    Alfred Inselberg, Professor
    School of Mathematical Sciences
    Tel Aviv University

  • Sharon Renshall, 19 August 2010

    Thank you for sharing this important information. It is very helpful for me.

    Sharon Renshall

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