Three design firms took on the challenge of re-designing the Bloomberg terminal interface, and the results were fantastic. The challenge came from Portfolio.com. The original article is here, but the fantasy terminals are here with an interactive interface that lets you highlight and zoom in on particular features. The design above is from thehappycorp.com and is my personal favorite.
Bloomberg claims to be constantly improving their interface design, but it still looks like runs on DOS and is straight out of the 80's.
Here is the desing from IDEO.com:
And one from Ziba.com:
You can read his full description here, but the point is the use of images in the chart so you can visualize the relationship between separate pieces of information. Phasers represent fights in each episode, Kirk's photo represents affairs during the episode with Captain Kirk and the colored shirts show fatalities of an actor in that colored shirt in that particular episode. Proving once and for all that being a red-shirted ensign is a hazardous job on the Enterprise.
From the NYTimes in July 2007, an interactive infographic ranking the Wealthiest Americans after you convert their fortunes to today's dollars using the relative share of G.D.P.
Scrolling your pointer over the photos or the fortune amount shows more detail of the individual. Lots of black & white portraits! Only current rich folk Bill Gates and Warren Buffet made the list with color portraits.
This last December was the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan's death. One of his most popular episodes of Cosmos was titled The Dragons of Eden where he first described his Cosmic Calendar. This website from discovery.com has a simple image showing the Cosmic Calendar as Carl described it. A few websites are selling posters of the Cosmic Calendar, like AllPosters.com.
The premise is that if you compress the entire history of the universe into a calendar year, homo sapiens only exist in the last 6 minutes, and the last second represents the last 400+ years of human history.
You can see Cosmos, and hear Carl describe it on YouTube here:
Chris Jordan has created some fantastic photographic artwork depicting the massive scale of some statistics about American life. This is where infographics actually become artwork.
The image above "Depicts nine million wooden ABC blocks, equal to the number of American children with no health insurance coverage in 2007." The complete image is 16 feet tall x 32 feet wide.
There are 17 different images available to view on his website. You can see the images magnified there to show the small pieces that each image is made from. Each image is based on an actual statistic about American life.
FYI: This series will be exhibited at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles, opening Sep 8. More info at www.paulkopeikingallery.com.
Marumushi.com has a fantastic News Map using the treemap visualization style. This is one of the best implementations of a treemap that I have found. Updated every 6 hours, it groups news stories (from the Google news aggregator) by overall category (technology, world, sports, etc.). You can choose to show the news map from 11 different countries, and the color shading of each block represents how old that particular news story is. Hovering your mouse over any square shows the whole title, and clicking takes you directly to the story.
Found on arstechnica.com, this one has me really excited. I have been disappointed for at least two decades that real HUDs (Heads-Up Displays) have not become standard, or even available as a third party product for our cars. Now a US patent application from Microsoft has been published showing a possible future HUD for your car.
More than just your speed, with today's technology we should have things like incoming caller-id, compass direction, outside temperature, current playing music title, live GPS map and distance to the car in front of us showing around the edges of our windshields.
We can only cross our fingers and hope that this would some day become a reality.
Early registration to the VizThink 2008 conference will end on September 15th. The conference is in San Francisco Jan 27-29. I won't be able to attend, but I hear that this is a great conference for people who make a living creating visual presentations, infographics, brainstorming sketches, etc.
This is a prime example of how seeing the data visually is better than reading numbers. Here is a population density map from Wikipedia.
We have heard that China and India have most of the human population in the world, but here you can really see and understand how much. Reading that China's population is four times that of the U.S. is much harder than really seeing it on a map.
The Wikipedia page on World Population has some other great information too.