Want to participate in a competition worth almost US$1000? Read on!
There has been a lot of discussion about the concept of information aesthetics lately, mostly focusing on the seemingly rapid rise of misplaced attention to "pretty, flashy mash-ups of something or other", in the press and on some (hmm hmm) online media. Despite these disagreements, I do hope we can all agree on some sort of visualization spectrum, with on one side the functional, expert-geared field of "information visualization", and on the other, that of the intriguing, visually persuasive "data art". I personally do believe we should not focus on defining such a hard divide, as there already exists an overlapping subfield in between where all the exciting things currently happen. Potentially, and maybe egoistically, I would propose this subfield could be labeled with the name of this blog. However, for the purpose of this competition, this issue is not even of much relevance.
While we keep discussing the necessity of theoretical frameworks, start dozens of vizblogs with endless "best-of" lists, and criticize the best practice of data visualizations, we seem to have lost the attention to a parallel universe, which no-one really recognizes the need to write a manifesto for. A field that is potentially more prevalent than all visualization "tools" and "artwork" put together. I mean those data visualizations that are neither "eye candy" nor "useful", neither "beautiful" nor "functional", neither "art" nor a "tool", neither "user-satisfactory" nor "effective", and neither stimulating the "heart" nor the "brain". The challenge of this competition is thus for you to find the most "ugly", "useless" and "disfunctional" data visualization online. It sounds easy, but can be more difficult than you might think.
Courtesy of our long-term sponsor FusionCharts, the 2 winners will each receive a FusionCharts Developer Bundle, worth US$499. Fusioncharts specializes in interactive Flash charts, gauges and maps, and is used by companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Dell, HP, GE, and many more. The Developer bundle comprises one license each of FusionCharts (animated Flash charts for web apps), FusionWidgets (data visualization widgets for dashboards), PowerCharts (interactive charts for specialized domains) and FusionMaps (interactive online maps).
You can participate by sending an email to ugly at infosthetics.com. The email should include a 600x600px .jpg image of the respective visualization, a direct link to the webpage containing the visualization, a title and short description (100-word max), and your name and email address (which will not be posted). Entries should be received before Wednesday 2 December, 12am (CET). The jury consists of FusionCharts staff and infosthetics. Any questions can be asked below.
Please note submissions proposing the complete collection of past infosthetics posts are permitted, but not really encouraged. :)
Images above were sourced from Many Eyes and Worst Visualization Gallery. Sorry, could not help picking 2 beautiful ones, negating my own rules... Further inspiration includes The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics and The Pentagon Information Graphics Machine.