Arrows Linking Information

Arrows show connection.  Arrow graphs can be used to show information connections between different events, inspiration, or people.

All in all, I do not like linking graphs.  For me, they are too confusing and do more for aesthetics than for actual information display.  Does that mean that they are meaningless? No!  They have a time and a place to be used.  I personally believe that other ways of graphing can present information in a more understandable and presentable way.

I find arrow mapping very confusing.  Like the small line graphs from last week, these arrows and text try to convey a big amount of information in a little amount of space.  Take Verrocchio’s sketch of a horse as an example:  Because the definitions of connections are so small, viewers tend to only see the horse as a whole.  This makes for an interesting artwork, but in my mind, an unproductive linking image.  Further, the examples graphing modern art were highly confusing due to congestion for information and seemingly unorganized data.     

 I was listening to a Ted Talk the other day on missing links in Darwinism (  For me, this tied together why we need linking diagrams (although they are not my favorite).  These linking diagrams allow for connections to be seen, however complex and unappealing the information display may be. 

Tufte ends this chapter by explaining how Galileo mapped specific information “as detailed annotations.”  He did so by describing and articulating each and every link between connections.  Although this makes for a complicated image, it works well to explain in detain connections between items.


One comment

  1. I really enjoyed your link to the missing link monster. I agree with his stance on arrow-chart hating. It’s the opposite of those graphs we saw in class on 2/11/2014. The more complex the idea the less effective it can be. “Look at how disorganized these lines are WTF? Should have used lines instead of arrows LOLZORSZ!” In other words, here is a handy graph using arrows that’s easy to understand that illustrates your post.

    – Alex

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