How To Make Pizza

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I personally thing that the best instructional visualizations are the ones that clearly portray exactly what it is you want the person reading and following them to do. When I look at a visual instruction the first thing I think about is whether or not what I am looking at on a piece of paper will come out looking the same as when I actually do it in person. The easiest way for me to figure out how to do something based off of pictures is to have the pictures used for the instructions directly correlate what I will be looking at 3-dimensionally as I am constructing it with my hands. If that idea can be brought forth in an easy, not overcomplicated way, I think that there is a far greater chance of the visuals being thought of as a success by the user rather than a waste.

For the pizza graph, I wanted to break it down as easily as possible. It is common knowledge to most people over the age of 6 years old what the basic ingredients of pizza are. Even from a young age we have viewed people making pizzas either at restaurants or on tv. So to start, the basic idea of constructing a pizza is something familiar to most of us.

I took each basic layer of the pizza and though of exactly how each layer would be put onto the next. The first thing that popped into my mind was a ladder. If you had each ingredient stacked vertically above your table-top, each layer would come down on top of the previous in order. I took that basic idea in my visualization and applied it to basic pictures. I wanted each layer to float about the other so rather than viewing each ingredient as separate, the user can get some sort of idea what they will look like. Personally, when I look at this graph there are two major things that allow me to realize these instructions will result in a structurally sound pizza.

The first thing is color. Most of us can identify what color is associated with which ingredient. When you look at a finished pizza the layers are obvious. Tan, red, yellow, and then various other colors on the very top. Although each ingredient in my visualization is separate, the fact they are placed close together and stacked on top of one another allows me to put the pieces together in my mind and realize what needs to happen in order to get a finished product.

The second thing that I notice is shape. Each ingredient has a different shape and that shape determines where it fits into the pizza. The large cylinder shapes go towards the bottom while the more scattered and various shapes are located on top of the pizza.

I think the goal of every visualization should be to not overwhelm the audience with overly complicated pictures and graphs. If you break things down to their simplest forms and understand what it is about the picture that makes the audience understand, they complexity of the graph really doesn’t matter that much.

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