All forms of visualization and representation have a common task: to transfer knowledge, expressly showing the designer’s intents and actions. In the creation of a visualization, a designer is involved in a meaning-making process, namely a process with a cognitive disposition which fosters the creation of meaning in the mind of the observer. This leads to a shift in the focus from a design of objects, to a design of thinking, or a design of inferences: the contents of a visualization should not be sought in the artifact itself, but in the thoughts of its recipient, who becomes a co-author. A visualization is like a theatre production: without an audience, it does not exist as an out-and-out show.
In this thesis, I propose a new approach to the visualization of phenomena, or that heterogeneous whole of stories, events, connections, places, processes of evolution and characters that creates the persistent context which help us to understand data and information. Such an approach, devoted to argument and inspired by narrative, is a synthesis of two different trends detected in the state of the art of the discipline: the formal approach — which comes from the paradigmatic mode of thought — and the expressive one — that originates from the narrative mode of thought.
From both approaches I keep certain qualities and singularities: from the former, the new approach preserves the descriptive and explanatory skills and the search for a formalization of language; the expressive approach helps the discipline of visualization in claiming its own form of narrative, equalizing it to all the other sciences that facilitate the access to reality.
The world that grows, changes and spins around the phenomenon to visualize, is the stage of the narrative level. My proposal is to consider the model of the panorama as an ideal model to depict that world in which the eye of the observer can freely wander, deciding where to look.
In the end, three projects are presented as a test of effectiveness for such narrative panorama, together with the formalization of the design process used to conceive them.