Archive for the ‘Interactive’ Category

Graphics Gone Viral

Animated infographic becomes a YouTube star

Over 4,000,000 views and 17,000 comments and steadily rising. Animated column chart with narration makes its point dramatically.


A Very Distorted Cartogram Map

NPR Maps Election Spending

A cartogram map scales geography proportionately according to some value of interest. Usually cartograms maintain the shape and relative position of the basic map as much as possible.

Maintaining a recognizable map of the US was a problem for this cartogram because political spending is so heavily concentrated in just a few states. This shrunk all the other states to the point of becoming almost invisible and certainly made them unrecognizable.

NPR’s solution was to turn the cartogram into an animation. Starting with an undistorted US map, NPR then morphed the US to show the highly distorted spending picture shown here.

Be Your Own Expert

Trefis graphically presents its analysis and invites you to tweak it

Trefis graphically presents the components of its forecast, showing how they add up. Clicking on a component drills down to display the assumptions. That alone would be noteworthy, but Trefis goes one step further: the various trend lines are easily adjustable, allowing the viewer to both enter their own expectations and explore different scenarios. Instead of taking a forecast at face value, this permits every customer to dig deeper into the analysis and to develop their own personal forecast, based on their understanding and beliefs.

Simple Interactivity Adds Information

Rollovers assist in pulling a chart apart

This chart in the Washington Post makes us want to dig deeper to make comparisons across individual nations, but with so many data points the added clutter would detract from the overall purpose of the chart. This is easily solved by using rollovers: pointing to a data point reveals a label showing the country name and highlighting all the other points on the chart from that country.

A New Way to Display Timelines on the Web

ProPublica releases free tool for creating dynamic timelines

Timelines are a great tool for visual explanation, but also time consuming to create. ProPublica speeds the job with its TimelineSetter tool for creating beautiful interactive HTML timelines from information entered into a simple spreadsheet. The program automatically creates a package of HTML and JavaScript code that can be dropped into a web page. TimelineSetter displays the events as a series of color bars on the scrollable timeline, which when clicked present additional information.

Although a powerful time saver, ProPublica wasted no time on providing a friendly user interface. TimelineSetter is a javascript that runs form the computer’s command line. This may be too geeky for most journalists so a bit more effort from ProPublica would probably go a long way to popularize their otherwise very useful tool.

Stanford Plots The Growth of US Newspapers: 1690-2011

Stanford’s Rural West Initiative plots over 140,000 newspapers published over three centuries in the United States using data  from the Library of Congress’ “Chronicling America” project.

Dataset to Infographic: The Thought Process

InteractiveThings (Zurich) data visualization studio describes the process of developing an infographic about Natinal Geographic’s Spelling Bee.

Step 1 analyzed the data to get a feel for the content to build up the story they wanted to tell. They decided to focus on three aspects: geography, rank, and time. The final infographic created a visual landscape which allowed the user to focus on the different aspects.