Interactive Graphs and Animation to Convey a Story
To better convey the statistics in the Human Development Report, the people working on this provide all the data in graphical form on their website. What I like about their presentation is that almost all of the charts and graphs are either interactive, or animated along a time axis with a narrative to aid interpretation of the data.
This is a great example of the difference animation and interactivity can make when explaining complex data. To compare, read some of the report documents and then compare the experience of reading text and charts to the interactive presentations of that same data. You'll get a better feel for some of the data and what it represents after playing with it.
I'd like to see more of this kind of design facilitated in commercial BI products. As it stands, almost all the tools provide static pictures of the data and have minimal capabilities for animating the data and providing narrative. To do that, you usually end up exporting the data and reworking it in another environment.
I advocate this kind of interactive use of data by people inside companies, but one of the things I run into is that a lot of presentation and discussion happens in meetings. Most conference rooms are poorly equipped to deal with active data use. Maybe one room in a company has a projector hooked up to a computer, the computer is usually a refugee from the Visicalc era. So we get ten copies of charts and notes, and talk about them in cramped surroundings with one red-green tinted whiteboard with "do not erase" written on it. At least, that's how my meetings go.
Something else I like about the UNDP report website (apart from their goals) is the way they make the report, the interactive data and the raw data all available for review. It's rare to see any organization, particularly when involved with political issues, make all their data available for scrutiny.
Link to Human Development Report flash presentations
Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:32:00 PM |