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This is part 2 of my review of some articles in TOI Delhi’s Union Budget 2014 edition published on 11th July 2014. Read part 1 here.

MONEY-fes-TOI

This was an entire newspaper spread with several information pieces on tax and money. The articles or subjects of discussions are very clearly separated by content blocking through columns. In all, the page very clearly tells you what it is about. Because the ratio of the images to the text is relatively higher than usual, it is also more inviting to read.

Impact of Revised Taxes

Originally printed like shown below, this infographic panel talks about the revised laws.

Revised Taxes

Revised Taxes Revised Taxes

 

1. Using cakes to show impact of revised tax is very misleading. At a glance, I would assume these are stats for consumption of different kinds of cakes. But since this article was in the finance section of a newspaper, my brain put 2 and 2 together and concluded it wasn’t about cakes after all. As a user, I find this unnecessary. I shouldn’t need to spend so much energy assuming what this could be about. I cannot figure out why they have used cakes here and whatever the reason may be it fails to communicate itself to the user.

2. All the different salary brackets have been constrained into boxes. Each box contains two cakes – One representing the old tax liability and the other, new. Now, I know this because the descriptor says so. There is no visual difference between the old and the new cake. And neither are the slices of cake made to look like they are of different sizes – considering that is what is essentially being talked about.

3. Sms emoticons have been used next to the ‘impact’ number – showing positive impact with a  ‘ : ) ‘  and no impact with  ‘ : | ‘ . These smileys have a very texting-chat-web connotation and somehow suggests its association not to a subject of finance, but a service related to social media or communication. And overall, when seen with the cakes, it all feels like children’s recreation.

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Post the Union Budget 2014, The Times of India – Delhi, on 11th July 2014, published their regular newspaper with a hefty feature on Money and Taxes for its readers. The day’s paper, though informative and very visual, was often misleading in its supporting infographics. I plan to analyse few of the articles from an information design / user perspective. Here is the first one.

Tax lift goes down, you’re up one floor

Page 02 // Times of India, Delhi // 11.7.2014

WP_20140711_012 WP_20140711_014

Incase you’re not too crazy about reading from badly lit photographs, you can find the entire article here. And incase you’re not too crazy about reading at all, the article talks about the exemption limit hike for tax payers in India, below the age of 60. It goes on to illustrate (through tables and figures) how much one can now save on taxes, based on his/her salaries.

11_07_2014_002_025_005

My concern is this well-crafted 3D illustration of the Parliament House with a balloon that is flying out of it; that kind of looks like a football field and the Colosseum. I spent some time trying to really analyse it, hoping to get the message – or to see its relevance to the article. Until I do figure out the illustration’s intended meaning, here is where the information design already fails according to me:

1. The fact that the meaning is not instantly clear to me; that I, the reader, have to spend more than 2 minutes (in my case, 24 hrs and counting..) figuring it out is already a negative.

2. The illustration, whatever it may have intended to say, does not add anything to the article. The basic function of tables, charts and illustrations within a newspaper is:
a. To give an essence of the written article.
b. Summarise some of the important data ( like in this case, the tabular form for a quick overview)
c. To help the reader, visualise a space/situation/series of events

This illustration only suggests to me, that the parliament has something to do with the decision making. However, If I did not know what happens in the Parliament of India, or couldn’t recognise the building, this illustration would be irrelevant.

3. There is no descriptor of the illustration. Though I believe that the information must be designed so, that a descriptor must only be used if absolutely necessary; in this case, some information would be better than none.

 There is a space, beyond this place,
Of dusk, dawn and noon.
Of nights with the darkest vigour,
Bereft of a moon.

A space where all the aves wreathe in
To catch a glimpse of what goes on within.
Who are these men dressed in white?
What are these pigments, exuding light?

There is a space, beyond this place
Home to a monster, they say.
A little creature that loves the forests,
One who hides the moons away.

They say he devours them as wraps,
For lunch? For dinner, perhaps!
They say he is heartless, though not cruel
Not really a monster, but a savage little fool.

Alchemists toil each day to create
Lunar systems that would re-generate.
They culture moons in a petri-dish
And clone skies on a whim, a wish.

The creature is ignorant, nevertheless.
Unscathed by any worldly stress,
On vigorously dark nights, he croons.
He is not a monster, a thief,
He is only the keeper of the moons.

9.7.2014

Years ago I signed up for a collaborative project where a group of artists from around the world create a physical character from a printable paper template. One could interpret this character and its creation in whatever way they wanted – but it had to be accompanied with a note describing their interpretation. I wrote my note but never created the object. 🙂

I have been trying to teach and re-teach myself processing for ages now. I start a project and invariably every time I do, something else comes up that requires my ‘urgent attention’. Recently I found a really nice course on Futurelearn that teaches processing and I have been loving it. These sketches are from an exercise that the course requires you to do – Basically use the provided program to create your artworks. One can also edit the program itself, which is my favourite part.

yourName_02

yourName_01

yourName_03

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