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Information Graphics 5

The feedback we received from the class discussion was extremely helpful in guiding our direction for the final draft. We realized that there were a lot of subtle biases that we had incorporated into our design. For example, the iconography for the coding languages, specifically Python, wasn’t as universally understood as we thought and added confusion.

Although not intended, the statistics that we used, specifically the “6 percent of life science majors are majoring in bioinformatics,” gave the impression that the information graphic was trying to convince students to major in bioinformatics rather than just take some more computer science or bioinformatics classes to enhance their knowledge. This is an important distinction, because the idea of switching majors or adding an additional major requires much more effort and thus is more challenging to persuade people to do.

In addition, our target audience includes those who have never taken any computer science courses, or who have just lightly dabbled in it. The majority of people majoring in the life sciences majors, in particular biology, are female. Consequently, we decided to further narrow our target audience to female biology students at WPI. This allows us to craft a more targeted message that will hopefully be better at persuading them to take enhance their computer science knowledge.

Some inherent, albeit extremely subtle design choices, made our information graphic seem catered to a male audience more familiar with computer science, such as the iconography, color scheme, and monetary statistics. Generally, women are less drawn to the prospect of a lucrative career than men.

Based on the feedback, we further refined our target audience to be as specific as possible, narrowed down from biology students at WPI to female biology students at WPI, with our purpose being to convince them to take a computer science or bioinformatics course. We also decided to reduce the emphasis on the bioinformatics major to prevent any confusion with the understood purpose previously mentioned.

Based on the feedback we received from class, we decided to continue with the simple iconography and general style, but modify it to better fit our target audience. We used the principle of relatability by showing images of females in science, however as icons to fit our style. We had some difficulties finding a good icon that would match our initial idea of a female with a ponytail wearing lab goggles (so to be instantly recognizable as both a female and a scientist), potentially holding a beaker or Erlenmeyer flask to be even more identifiable. Some of the icons that we found are included with the first being a quick sketch courtesy of Henry 🙂 .

Our next progression of drafts over the weekend are as follows.

Our final draft (for now at least).

Because of the many changes that we implemented as a result of the feedback session (which I think was extremely useful!), we also changed our artist statement:

The purpose of this information graphc is to persuade biologists at WPI to take computer science (CS) courses by showing them how CS can impact their carreers.

To accomplish this goal, we began by molding our graphic around a DNA strand, immediately telling viewers that our graphic is about biology. By slightly tilting the DNA, we are able to guide the readers eyes as they read from the top left to the bottom right. Symbollically, the DNA has been broken into two strands: solid teal and pixelated yellow. The teal strand represents biology, while the yellow strand represents CS; together, they show how CS and biology are fundamentally intertwined within our graphic. We used the vertical bars between strands to hold statistical information, drawing from a variety of statistics (tragically fabricated due to time and resource constraints) in order to logically persuade our readers into learning more about programming.

Contrasting the DNA, we framed the entire infographic within a monitor (alluding to CS), placing information about beginner CS courses in the empty space surrounding the monitor. We were able to further expand on the DNA with carefully chosen iconography that is representative of the various problems that biologists face, accompanying these icons with subdued text blocks that provide detailed explanations of the icons and their relevance. Throughout the graphic, we attempted to place a larger focus on female viewers, since they comprise a majority of WPI biology majors.

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4 Comments

  1. Ben

    I think it was a great idea to narrowing your audience, which has made your graphic more concise. You guys picked a really good pairing between topic and audience, because computer science and life sciences have a fairly inverse gender democratic. By choosing a female audience you are able to appeal to a large portion the life science community, while educating them on the importance of CS in that field. This very meaningful audience combined with your awesome graphic makes for a really useful message.
    Adding the titles above the different computer programs has also improved the range skill levels that are able to comprehend the icons. My only suggestion would be to make the text blocks on top and bottom level. Having everything in the graphic at an angle give it a slightly chaotic feel, which I think wouldn’t be a problem if there was something more anchored in the image.

    • admin

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, as I talked about in the post, there were a lot of subtle biases that we had that we didn’t realize were being put into the design. Presenting the information graphic to the class showed us that our assumptions that everyone would know that the icons represented programming languages simply wasn’t the case. We debated changing the color scheme to be more “feminine,” but we immediately realized that none of the other colors really seemed to fit with the theme. We ended up just sticking with the same colors because they represented the “bio green” color scheme but with a bit more punchy colors coming in from the yellow and blue which work really well together.

  2. I agree with Ben about the revision made to the defined target audience and the purpose of your infographic. I know that many groups, including mine, struggled with a clear purpose and audience. However, I feel as though your initial infographics had one, but the infographic attracted an unintended group. I really like the change in the main title because it does not feel like it is trying to persuade the audience to major in CS. I think the addition of little icons into the bar graphs and utilizing all of them is more appealing to the eye. You did an excellent job of using maximum space, but not over crowding it.

    The only part I’m wondering about the color scheme of blues and greens. Normally, those colors are associated with boys and masculinity. I know that natural colors like that can also represent science, but I feel like the pastel blue and green suggest gender more than science. I know your target audience is females and not males, but the colors at a glace do not show that.

  3. Jack Tulloch

    I agree with everyone else about the revision made to the defined target audience and the purpose of your info graphic. I think that is is a very professional look which is hard to achieve. I also like the change in the main title because is more in line with what you talked about in class. I think the addition of little icons into the bar graphs was good as well. There was a very effective use of space in your graphic I know I struggled with this to I commend you on this. The colors go well with the topic at hand and I like how there are small things that relate to computer science as well. Good work!

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