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Exploring the effectiveness of interactive information and data visualisation for news web interface in the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: a South African perspective.

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From a global perspective, news production and consumption is becoming increasingly digitised. The world is changing very fast, and big will not beat small anymore, but rather the fast beating the slow (Murdoch, 2016). Comparatively, South African news media organisations are not adapting fast enough to the new normal with respect to the deployment of innovative solutions to revamp their online platforms. They, therefore, need to adapt quickly and innovatively to the accelerated demands of the digital revolution in order to compete with international online news disrupters. The problem that this research identifies is that information and data visualisation for online news in South Africa is somewhat deficient regarding the use of non-linear interactivity for innovative news graphics. In South Africa, online news is a digital replica of a traditional newspaper, extensively relying on the use of still photographs that accompany text in a linear format despite the acceleration in digital development whereby the nonlinearity and interactive nature of Web 2.0 allows for interactive user engagement. While it is true that digital technology has beaten down the entry barriers to publication, it is also true that publishers need to do everything in their power to raise barriers that will prevent people from leaving their world of meaning. This research study undertook to comparatively review the information and data visualizations used in two international online news sites: The New York Times (NYT), and The Straits Times (ST) and the information and data visualisations used in two national online news sites: Times Live (TL), and E-News Channel Africa (eNCA) online to determine novel ways in which information visualisation can be incorporated into news websites in South Africa. The key finding was that non-linear interactive information and data visualisation is a neglected area of specialisation notwithstanding the fact that it can enhance the multimedia narrative output for South African news websites if implemented appropriately. Since this is a fairly new creative discipline, and with the increasing information and data deluge due to the advancement of technology, the results of this study underline the impact of visualizing an influx of information and data, providing a roadmap for an innovative and interactive execution of information and data in the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.