This past year has been catastrophic for the New York Times. Advertising dropped off a cliff. The stock sank by 60 percent, and by fall, the paper had been rated a junk investment, announced plans to mortgage its new building, slashed dividends, and, as of last week, was printing ads on the front page. And yet, even as the financial pages write the paper’s obit, something hopeful has been going on: a kind of evolution.
Although data visualization has produced some of the most captivating artistic displays in recent memory, some of which have found their way into exhibits at the New York Museum of Modern Art and countless art installations around the world, business leaders are asking: is data visualization actionable?
The word visualization encapsulates a process. And it's really that process that's the essential part, not the thing that results.
Recently, I spoke to a crowded room of senior marketers at a CPG retailer, one of the executives asked “What’s an indicator a company is advanced in the social space?”. I gave three answers, and one of them was “Developing a thriving advocacy program to fight your battles”. The executives, which were used to traditional advertising and direct marketing had a lightbulb go off as I showed them this framework.
Gary Flake demos Pivot, a new way to browse and arrange massive amounts of images and data online. Built on breakthrough Seadragon technology, it enables spectacular zooms in and out of web databases, and the discovery of patterns and links invisible in standard web browsing.
To me, these seem like the key components of a good infographic / data visualisation / piece of information design: * Information needs to be interesting (meaningful & relevant) and have integrity (accuracy, consistency). * Design needs to have form (beauty & structure) and function (it has to work and be easy to use).
Five years ago, we launched a conference based on a simple idea, and that idea grew into a movement. The original Web 2.0 Conference ( now the Web 2.0 Summit ) was designed to restore confidence in an industry that had lost its way after the dotcom bust. The Web was far from done, we argued. In fact, it was on its way to becoming a robust platform for a culture-changing generation of computer applications and services. In our first program, we asked why some companies survived the dotcom bust, while others had failed so miserably. We also studied a burgeoning group of startups and asked why they were growing so quickly. The answers helped us understand the rules of business on this new platform.
A compass is a device for discovering orientation and serves as a true indicator of physical direction. Inspired by a moral compass, The Social Compass serves as our value system when defining our program activities. It points a brand in a physical and experiential direction to genuinely and effectively connect with customers, peers, and influencers, where they interact and seek guidance online.
I notice these days that I can spend hours at my computer, in a cloud. A swampy blur of digital activity, smeared across various activities and media and software. Emailing, writing, tweeting, designing, browsing, taking calls, Skyping, Facebooking, RSS Feeding – all blurred into a single technological trance. I seem to switch randomly from one to the other. But actually is there a subtle hierarchy in this cloud? Do I prefer some distractions over others? I think so.
Twitter connects people through a rich and active exchange of ideas, thoughts, observations, and interests in one, highly collaborative and promising ecosystem. The Twitterverse advances micro interaction and connections through an expanding network of applications, engendering the potential for macro reach and resonance online and IRL (in real life).
As sad as it sounds, most of us experience the world through photographs. Now MIT software engineers are taking that idea literally and mapping Flickr photos to regional maps in The World's Eyes project.
The revolutionary social visualization website Many Eyes has just a released a new visualization technique, called Phrase Net. Phrase Net is based on simple pattern matching of words or phrases (advanced users can use also "regular expressions") within text, to detect the relationships between concepts hidden in books, speeches, and other unstructured documents.
Today's consumer seems to have an insatiable appetite for information, but until recently making sense of all of that raw data was too daunting for most. Enter the new "visual scientists" who are turning bits and bytes of data -- once purely the domain of mathematicians and coders -- into stories for our digital age.
We found this visualization of the current credit crisis remarkably informative. The ten minute long video does a really great job breaking down all the different players and provides a general overview of how investment banking works. By the end of it, terms like sub-prime mortgages, collateralized debt obligations, frozen credit markers, and credit default swaps actually make sense.