Procedures and methods for a more effective practical research in Information Design
Authors: Cristina Pires Dos Santos, Maria João Pereira Neto, Marco Neves
Abstract: The present study portrays part of a methodology that was designed with a view to its applicability to a project in the field of Information Design (ID) for the interpretation and dissemination of the Heritage of a region. It was intended that the infographic project to be carried out a posteriori would reflect the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the region of Aljezur, Portugal, which would be presented visually (through infographics), in order to contribute to a multidimensional exploration of that same Heritage. This was to be achieved in a virtual context, aiming at the transmission and sharing of information in a more intelligible, visual and memorable way. Starting from the problematics: a) What functional, aesthetic, and technical aspects do we have to consider when representing different specifications of the heritage? and, b) What different aspects of Heritage require specific visual representations and differentiated solutions, for a more reliable representation of information, improving its understanding? the following hypothesis was formulated: different types of heritage require some different options and visual resources. Thus, using the case study method, an attempt was made to visually analyze a set of examples of infographics applied to Heritage, to try to find guidelines that support a solution for the realization of the aforementioned project. The objective was to make a survey and detect trends and patterns regarding the visual resources and styles used, organization and presentation of information. This took into account variables inherent to the various specificities of Heritage and information, associated with the region of Aljezur (and which are representative and may apply to other regions of the country). It was also intended, when doing this analysis, to identify which examples best fulfill the proposed objectives for the presentation of visual information, with a view to a practical component.The performed analysis was based on the entire literature review in the area of ID, categorizations associated with different infographics, functional, aesthetic, and cognitive principles inherent to the practice of ID, highlighted by the authors referenced throughout the research. At the same time, an in-depth visual search of several examples of infographics representing various types of Heritage was carried out (with the application of a non-participative observation and visual archive). This search formed the basis for organization and selection of multiple case studies, and the subsequent application of an analysis method built from the literature review. Of the 163 infographics compiled, 76 were selected for multiple case studies and application of the analysis method, resulting in a table/matrix.The adopted procedure proved to be essential for assessing methods and procedures, in the treatment of general and particular patrimonial information sets, and for direct application in the achievement of the proposed project. It was found that different types of Heritage require different options and visual resources, as well as differentiated solutions, which are more suitable for different types of heritage information and for a more reliable representation of the information, thus improving its understanding. It also contributed to an increased awareness of the options available for the infographics of the proposed project, and led to a reflection on certain theoretical aspects evaluated in the literature review, taking into account real practical examples.
Keywords: Information Design, Infographics, Multiple Case Studies, Heritage, Method
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