The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

I love it when I come across two examples of a point I want to make. That adds more weight to said point, right?

I started yesterday off enjoying BBC History’s series of video explainers about WW1. Lovely, and informative, and created by After the flood.
ww1 max map

But what I then equally enjoyed reading was Max’s blog post about their creation, not least this paragraph in which he puts his finger on a really important aspect of good animations: getting the voice over and animation to complement each another.

Key to a sequence of detailed explanation is synching recognisable points on the video with their corresponding words in the voice over. This sounds simple but to match a visual flow of elements with a voice script requires a lot of planning at the storyboard phases. The moments of ‘pinch’ when the voice over matches an on-screen element create satisfying gestalts (closed loops) that engage the viewer.

Satisfied that I’d had a dose of infographic goodness for the day I then felt spoilt much later on when I stumbled across the Washington Post’s Gaza overview. They’d neatly come up with a series of graphics that got the visuals and text to complement each other, truly integrated.

wapo-gaza-tunnel

Here the key elements from the map are also presented as an integral part of the text. You do away with a key, you create a seamless link between the copy and the visual, and together they convey their meaning better than either in isolation would (or another ‘satisfying gestalt’ if you’re Max).

I’d love to see more of this. Apparent simplicity like this is hard to do, but in the interest of aiding the audience’s understanding it’s worth the effort.