Why visual literacy matters

Visual literacy, being the word chooser of this blog, I have decided means the ability to “read” graphic information. A post I saw today on Facebook earnings over time gave a prime example of this.

 

Chart of Facebook earnings by region

If you are a fluent “visualizer”, then just like a fluent reader can read a paragraph and comprehend it, summarize the main points and rephrase it, you could easily grasp the chart above. You would say:

  • Over two years, the number of users from the U.S.  & Canada has grown relatively little.
  • The U.S. / Canadian market was the lowest number of users for the past two years
  • Europe was the next smallest market and grew about 20%  over two years.
  • Asia was the second-largest “market”, second only to “the rest of the world”
  • The U.S/Canada and European markets are shrinking as a percentage of Facebook users

My point isn’t anything about Facebook or Facebook users. I don’t really care. What I do want to point out is that if you are reading this blog, you probably found all of those points so obvious that you wonder why I am even mentioning. Of course, you are reading this blog, so no one needs to explain what those black letters on the screen mean, either.

My point, and I do have one, is that somehow, somewhere, you learned to read graphs like that and that is an important skill. Most likely, you are fluent . That is, many people could perhaps puzzle out what that graph means, just like many people who are not proficient readers can sound out words and kind of figure out the meaning of a paragraph or two. Those people do not generally read War and Peace, or The Definitive Guide to Javascript.

The need for visual literacy is all around you – and that’s my real point.

 

 

 

 

 

local_offerevent_note July 23, 2014

account_box AnnMaria De Mars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.