In a world of magnificently abundant information, it’s more and more difficult for people to be “stay tuned” on a piece of information and try to absorb it comprehensively. Graphics kind of helped attracting people’s attention by using visual elements, which are naturally more appealing to people than text content. However, when people are getting used to more graphics, they just became easily distracted too. That’s why we need interactive graphics and motion graphics to help people concentrate on information and explore further in the whole story.
That’s why interactive graphics and motion graphics are becoming more popular, I believe. Motion graphics are graphics that include animations and present information in an order preset by the graphic designer. The information was presented in a liner way, and a story is told visually by trying to explain how the information relates to each other.
I think interactive graphics and motion graphics are both very engaging graphics, but they are engaging in different ways. Interactive graphics usually allow audience to choose the order of information based on their on interests, giving them a lot of options and usually resulting in longer time viewing. Motion graphics, on the other hand, will ask audiences to follow the story constructed by the graphic designer and be able to grasp a lot of information in a very short time (usually within 3 minutes or so). I think they work well for different topics and information. For large pile of data, say, the demographic and income information for the 50 states in U.S., an interactive map would work really well by allowing audiences to choose any state they want to see. However, for the same piece of data, if you want to highlight some states and talk about the relations, comparison of some states and analyze the reason behind it, motion graphics can work too. I think they are definitely supplementary. Graphic designers should always think about what information they want to present and highlight, and whether or not they want to include analytic content before they make decision on what kind of graphic they want to build.
Motion graphics really have high information density, and a well-composed motion graphic will guide audience through the story and understand the data in a short time. Graphic designers don’t need to worry about whether or not audiences will comprehend the data in a way they wanted them to, because motion graphics tell them exactly how to look at the data. So it’s really effective in presenting data. Also, as the technology advances, the quality of motion graphics will improve and more ideas can be realized by motion graphics. So I think it’s definitely going to be more popular.
Here is an example I chose from New York Times as an inspirational motion graphic. I think it represents one of motion graphics’ advantages: explaining something complicated.
The graphic shows the critical components in well’s blowout preventer and explained why the 2010 well explosion happened. With images, motions, text illustrations and narratives all together, it’s so easy to focus on the information the reporter is trying to tell, and it’s hard to get distracted because all the elements that are tied together. It’s easier for someone to stay in focus if the graphic is a combination of sound, image and pop-up text info. With the multiple elements, the explanation is hence easy to understand. It’s very effective in helping people understand how the oil spill happened.
Unlike a few other still graphics (in the package), which illustrate some facts in the whole event in various perspectives, this motion graphic told a story in a liner way. So there is only one piece of information when they view the video, there is no choice. The screen can zoom in and zoom out without hurting the continuity of the whole graphic.