Living Infographics: Live Data Visualization is Rad
One of the coolest things about live data is the ability to connect the data to graphics in a way that makes it easier for people like me, who are more visual, see the facts. With the huge influx of everyone making every piece of information into an info graphic, the next natural step was to start animating them in more ways and formats using live data.
A couple of pretty significant events occurred in the last few weeks. One was a huge hurricane, named Sandy, that blew through the east. The other was the 2012 presidential election in the US. These were events that many people watched closely with baited breath. Now, in addition to television and video snippets on sites, people can really see an event unfold with living, moving, breathing live data and info graphics and it is awesome.
An amazing online project worth checking out is Hint.fm. Combining weather, real time data and art, it creates a moving and living (daily) graphic of wind patterns and speeds across the US. Check out hurricane Sandy’s map from Oct 30th. (Also shown in this post’s featured image.) It is quite spectacular to see the huge spiral of wind.
This weather info graphic generator started as an art project, but I think it’s a medium that could be adopted by many sites. It provides an easy way to create engaging and exciting products, projects and marketing.
Next came the US presidential election where each state’s outcome was closely watched, especially those swing states. There were plenty of sites, such as Yahoo and CNN, with real-time election modules on their home pages. My favorite, though, was the way the Huffington Post displayed it’s data. It was fun to watch through out the night.
Updated every 30 seconds, the Huffington Post info graphic showed a small count down clock in the left rail on top of a live feed of election news. Front and center was the US map and you could see each state started to fill in light red (Republican) or blue (Democrat) to represent which way the state was leaning, while the ballots were still being counted. After the polls closed and numbers were settled, the state would either become bright red or bright blue.
In addition to coloring, the map was straddled on the top and bottom with electoral and popular vote progress bars, respectively. The representation was nice, simple and clear: A blue bar, for Democrat, and red bar, for Republican. It was easy to see who was in the lead, even at a quick glance, because it was done in a elegant and noise free way.
The Huffington Post is not always my favorite go to site to show case good layouts and typography, but in this case they really did a good job. They took their ultra-simple, utilitarian design philosophy and made it shine.
Do you have a favorite site that has a good example of live data graphics? Let us know in the comments.
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