Some thoughts on Information Graphics
Good information design requires – above all – empathy.
Empathy is defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." This ability is critically important in information design, much as it is in the field of teaching. We've probably all experienced briliant people who were terrible teachers. This shortfall is usually the result of a lack of empathy. The teacher understands what he or she is teaching so well that they cannot place themselves in the shoes of the student who lacks that level of understanding. Without being able to empathize with the student and clearly understand where the student is coming from, nobody can be an effective teacher, no matter how smart they are or how well they know the subject they're teaching.
Designing information graphics is much the same as teaching. In order to design information that is clear and easy to understand, the designer must be able to place themselves in the shoes of the person using the information. Being too intimately knowledgable of the information can make you blind to how difficult it is for someone to understand. The designer must be able to look at the information with fresh eyes, as if they are seeing it for the first time.