Friday, 8 October 2010

Visual Inspiration: Turning data into compelling information

I'l nail my colours to the mast and say that I believe that data visualisation is something we are going to see more and more experimentation with, in more and more multi-media forms.

If you look at some of the things that most frequently whizz around the web creating conversation, infographics are right up there. The world is awash with data and this isn't going to change, as more and more things are connected together and creating a constant flow of data creation (living as we increasingly do in a world of internet of things). Data that can  then be modelled and translated into interesting and easy ways to make that data easy to understand.

I'm a big fan of the work of Flowtown who amongst many wonderful things recently updated their social map of the web / world

and Information is Beautiful, and their book of the same name.

I'm increasingly seeing more and more tools that pull data from different sources to creating (aggregated) visual representations. I'm hoping I'm going to get an invite to Storify which just launched in beta.

Spezify remains my favourite living mood board tool, last week I found some nice visual search tools that represented image / associated tag results in interesting ways, and then you've got the likes of US auto manufacturer Buick and the Grammy  (music) Awards who are using Spezify-esque approaches to aggregate information around given topics from a variety of multi-media sources e.g Twitter, YouTube & Flickr amongst others.

Do go and have a play with both, and think about both the information, the way it's delivered and the experience it offers.We'd give the Grammy's more points if they hadn't hidden the Fanbuzz Visualiser at the bottom, & had to close the window to go back to the site.  Here's a screen grab showing a nice representation of the conversation volume today about the various  nominated artists.

"But I have enough problems creating graphs in Powerpoint or Excel" I hear you cry...

Well maybe, but all this data manipulation is going to get easier... just as being a photographer used to be a skill of the few that has now passed into the hands of many, the same will apply.  Microsoft are already developing tools that will facilitate more visual data manipulation.  Check out Pivot (video requires installation of Silverlight if you don't have it already).

I expect more and more brands to be using data visualisation techniques to create conversation starters. Have a think, what could your brand apply the principles to?

1 comment:

  1. I had thought this map was by Randall Monroe/xkcd. [].Are you familiar with the work of Edward Tufte?