Talk: Communicating science and technology visually
Data visuals are everywhere, from the most trite like bar charts to the most complex like network graphs, and computer animations and simulations. While the diversity and abundance of data visuals is clearly a result of our technological revolution, data visuals are, above all, the products of people working for other people. This is nowhere more evident than in science and technology, where the safety and well-being of entire populations is at stake. However, once we shift our focus from data visuals to the human element, human and cultural factors take precedence over the visuals and even the science and engineering that warrant the visuals. What factors are those? How do they affect the conceptualization, production, and communication of data visuals? What does this mean for those involved in the practice, research, teaching and learning of science and technology? To answer these questions, I will report on the results of a pilot study the Visualizing STEM Research Synergy Cluster at NMT did with science and technology students. I will relate the results to research in data visualization, science and technology studies (STS), and cultural and human factors. And I will discuss implications of the pilot study for the visual communication of science and technology.
Rosário Durão is an assistant professor of technical communication in the Department of Communication, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences at New Mexico Tech (NMT), where she teaches international professional communication, visual communication, data visualization, web design, and technical writing.
Her research interests lie at the crossroads of international professional communication, data visualization, science and technology studies (STS), and complexity. She is currently investigating the intersection between data visualization, STEM, culture and human factors in a study on S&T visuals. She is also developing a map of the people, projects, tools and educational resources in data visualization.
Rosário is co-director of the Humanizing Technology research project, at NMT, and director of its Visualizing STEM Research Synergy Cluster. She is also the founding editor of connexions • international professional communication journal