Artemy Lebedev of Designer’s Block articulates the problem we’ve discovered after diving into big data:
There is no way to think up an original and extraordinary design—it can only come as a result of pursuing a given task. In the same way running down a list of words is different from making a narrative.
As FlowingData adds:
This applies to visualization too. When you don’t have a question to answer or a simple wonderment about something, you end up staring at a bunch of numbers with no clue what to do with them. Want to test this out? Go to data.gov and make something useful.
via Visualizing data: ask a question first.
This visualization only looks like the spreading of a horrible plague. It is instead of the growth of Walmart and Sam’s Clubs throughout the United States. Starting in the relatively quiet 1960’s, Walmart added one or two locations a year. The flow accelerates until in 2010 there are 4393 stores studded across an apocalyptic consumerist landscape.
Watch the Growth of Walmart and Sams Club Across America | FlowingData.
OKCupid continues to be the world’s best dating site, mainly because of their sense of humor and their willingness to play with their data in their analysis blog. Who can forget their article about how best to pose for your profile picture? (Hint: no duck-lips.)
Here they break down the dysfunctional Democratic Party:
Time and again in American politics, Republicans have voted as a unit to frustrate our disorganized Democratic majority. No matter what’s on the table, a few Democrats will peel away from the party core; meanwhile, all Republicans will somehow manage to stay on-message.
Thus, they caucus block us.
The Democrats Are Doomed, or How A ‘Big Tent’ Can Be Too Big « OkTrends.