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Archive for December, 2013

Bricks and mortar.

Friday, December 27th, 2013

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Beyond all the online retail markets, places still exist to take in the smells and scenes of fresh fair. ‘Take the time to take it in.

Shot by Ashley Youkilis on an iPhone with an Instagram filter.

Flora and fauna.

Friday, December 20th, 2013

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Manicured gardens, saturated colors, texture and detail abound. ‘All created by nature.

Shot by Ashley Youkilis on an iPhone with an Instagram filter.

Slipping and sliding in a winter wonderland

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Cincinnati is on its way to break the record for the city’s snowiest December. With only half of the month under its belt, December 2013 is already ranked in the top 10 of snowiest Decembers. On average, the accumulated snowfall through the middle of December is 2.8 inches. This year, the city has seen 12.5 inches already. ‘The snow has been an added feature for the holiday spirit, but it also brings about closings, delays, and havoc on the roads.

With these slippery conditions, there have been many mornings that involve far from ideal conditions for commuting. Whether journeying to school, the office, or the gym, drivers put both their road skills and common sense to the test. Although we do not have to deal with the winters of Vermont, Buffalo, or even Cleveland, it doesn’t mean that Cincinnatians should cripple with snowfall and winter weather advisories. Those weather freak-outs can be reserved for those who happen to wake up and see the Egyptian Pyramids covered in snow’

MSN Money shared research from the University of California that driving fatalities actually decrease during the winter months. This is a combination of people driving less and driving slower. That said, insurance rates fare a bit differently. Even if you hit a half a dozen cars as you slide down a hill, you probably won’t be injured, but you can better believe your car insurance rates will increase.

Driving slowly will help you stay safer during inclement weather, but it’s not the only thing you should be doing.’ AAA has a list of winter driving tips, as obvious as some may seem, it’s amazing how many people you’ll drive by on those snowy mornings who have neglected to follow the winter ‘to-do’ or ‘to don’t’ list. Things like turning on your lights, cleaning off your car (and not just the driver’s side window), and not riding the bumper of the car in front of you, are often overlooked.

Just because you have garage or 4-wheel drive doesn’t mean that key winter weather prevention measures don’t apply to you. All drivers should keep an eye on levels of gas, and keep an emergency kit in your vehicle at all times, check windshield washer fluid, and avoid driving distracted (no call or text is that important). Using common sense and the winter driving tactics mentioned, is the best way to keep you safe this winter.

It’s all in how you look at the world.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

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Whether above or below, stop to see how the world looks from a different point of view. ‘You might be surprised at what you see.

Shot by Ashley Youkilis on an iPhone with an Instagram filter.

Keep it simple, stupid (KISS as it applies to Infographics)

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, we are entrenched in ‘information overload.’ It has become so easy to share new discoveries, stats, and innovative ideas. However, human minds have not advanced at the same pace. Enter a rise in infographics visual images used to help people visualize often complicated data. Infographics, at their best, help the human mind quickly make sense of complicated information.

Although a recent phenomenon, infographics have been around for centuries, dating back to the map. This was the first time that an idea could be represented in one place, by figuratively bringing the whole world to a piece of parchment (paper).

Fast Company recently compiled the most creative infographics of 2013. These visuals successfully transformed hard-to-process facts and figures into eye candy. The infographics include a wind map, a bartender cheat-sheet, and a comprehensive death report from Breaking Bad‘s five-season run. The topics could automatically be interesting to a particular audience, but with a splash of color and a clever graph, these dry facts have garnered attention from much broader audiences.

Gareth Cook, a Pulitzer Prize-winning magazine journalist, argued how powerful infographics have become in his lecture ‘Infographics: The Origin And Future Of Visual Thinking.’ Cook said this form of media might become the future of journalism as a more ‘integrated approach to storytelling.’ Although it will be intriguing to see how infographics will continue to develop with technology, we need to be critical of them and understand that they might not be the given truth.

Infographics are an effective platform to convey complex information, but very few are done well. In a video on Whiteboard Friday, digital assets are explained against infographics and why the former is more effective. Poorly done infographics no more invalidate the medium than crappy books invalidate that medium. In building infographics, industry specialists emphasize the importance of implementing the STEPP framework: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories. When infographic creators fail, this is often due to an implementation that lacked STEPP elements.

Sites like the Infographic Journal, explore the best manifestations of this approach. There is no denying that infographics are an ideal way to share information, but before you hit the drawing board, focus on how to make them effective across all channels. Infographics may not always be the most accurate news source, but expect to see them more often.