Thursday, December 20, 2007

the NYT takes it up a notch

The New York Times recently posted this impressive interactive visualization showing the degree to which each of the presidential candidates are mentioning one another in their debates. The NYT graphics team has certainly been ahead of the curve in terms of producing readable (and beautiful) infovis, but this one strikes me as a step above their usual (great) stuff. A network diagram like this is a considerably more abstract visual encoding than a bar chart or line graph, so I'm surprised and pleased to see it being deployed in such a high-traffic context.

Matt Ericson, the head of their graphics department, has talked about the challenges they face in designing "infovis for the masses;" I wonder if broadening their visualization repertoire with examples like this represents an increased confidence in the "visualization literacy" of their readers. I also wonder if they work more experimentally with the graphics they produce for the NYT website versus the print edition, and if this reflects a perceived difference in the "visualization literacy" of those respective audiences. Assuming it could be reworked as a static image, would they feel confident deploying this visualization in the print edition?

Either way, this is a fantastic example of effective public-facing visualization.

1 comment:

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