Data visualization in the time of coronavirus
Currently, we observe a proliferation of data visualizations about Covid-19 in the media, which makes it a convenient time to study the topic from the perspective of different disciplines, including information design and mathematics. If, on the one hand, the abundance of such pandemic representations would already be a legitimate reason to address the issue, on the other hand, it is not the central motivation of the present discussion. The uniqueness of the epidemiological phenomenon that we are experiencing highlights new aspects regarding the production and use of data visualizations, one of which is its diversification beyond counting and visual representation of events related to the virus spread. In this sense, the article discusses, through the analysis of examples, three different approaches for this type of schematic representation, namely: visualization of hypothetical data, visualizations based on secondary data, and visualization for social criticism and self-reflection. Ultimately, we can argue that design contributes to the production of data visualizations that can help people to understand the causes and implications involved in the new coronavirus and encourage civic responsibility through self-care and the practice of social distancing.
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