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Home > iSGTW 23 September 2009 > Link of the week - Information visualization manifesto creates buzz

Link of the week – Information visualization manifesto creates buzz

Manuel Lima, the designer who wrote the Information Visualization Manifesto. Image courtesy Manuel Lima

It’s hard not to have a soft spot for some of the gorgeous visualizations science computing produces. But in our quest for form, have we lost sight of function?

That’s the question that drove Manuel Lima, a London-based interaction designer, to write the Information Visualization Manifesto, which you can read at his blog. Lima’s manifesto states 10 directives for any project in the information visualization realm:

  1. Form follows function
  2. Start with a question
  3. Interactivity is key
  4. Cite your source
  5. The power of narrative
  6. Do not glorify aesthetics
  7. Look for relevancy
  8. Embrace time
  9. Aspire for knowledge
  10. Avoid gratuitous visualization

His manifesto prompted 21 comments, and his follow-up post received more. A thoughtful response by computer science professor Robert Kosara added fat to the fire, along with enthusiastic mentions on and So far, the original and related posts have been tweeted more than 160 times.

-Miriam Boon, iSGTW



Science visualizations are often generated using supercomputers, computing grids, clouds or clusters. We tend to celebrate gorgeous visualizations because they give us something any member of the public can appreciate. We can point at them and say, “See? Our science, and our facilities, made that possible.” But is Lima right about visualizations being used frivolously? And if so, does this apply to some of the scientific visualizations created using high-end computing resources?

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