Animations and movements – how to use them effectively with data visualization

Interview with Irene de la Torre Arenas

We may use movements and transformations as an add-on to the design.

However, this type of implementations can be more important than that.

Motion in visualizations is not a gratuitous element. On the contrary, animations can influence how users interact and understand our designs.

Join us while Irene and I talk about how animations and movements can create a lot of advantages such as the following:

  • Portray data directly through motion (what Irene defines as ‘data as motion’). This is an example of it.
  • Interpolate through data values (‘motion as an interpolation of data values’). Gapminder, or the visualizations showing how PASI changes through time under different psoriasis treatments (see paper here).
  • Guide viewers through the visualization (‘motion as a storytelling device’). Like in this visualization where every time the user interacts a transition happens.
  • And captivate viewers (‘motion as a captivator’). All the examples mentioned above fit in this category.

Further useful references:

Movements and transformations of Irene (thesis)

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Irene de la Torre Arenas

She is a data designer specialized in visualizing information in understandable and meaningful ways. She works as a Visualization Lead at UCB since February 2021. Before her current role, she worked at BBC News, where she was part of the UX&Design and the Data Journalism teams, and at the MIT SENSEable City Lab. She has also collaborated with other media and advertising organizations in Spain.

In 2017, she gave Data Visualization classes at the MIT School of Architecture. One year later, she designed the didactic program Communicating with Data that MIT developed for the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation.

She graduated from the MFA Information Design and Visual Communication at Northeastern University. Her work has been recognized in the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards and the WAN-IFRA European Digital Media Award.

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