making the business case for data visualization

21 Feb 2010 - 12:51pm
4 years ago
1 reply
755 reads
jet
2008

Kinda ixd-related, kinda-not. I've had an easy time pitching data
visualization for art/design projects, but I'm making my first attempt
at pitching it in a business as an area of research.

The problem is to make the case for doing visualizations of public
information past the spreadsheet/bar graph level. For example, twitter
analysis of client-related keywords relative to verbs like "fail" or
"return" or proper nouns like names of competing products. Part of the
challenge is that one of the parties involved has referred to
visualization as "making pretty pictures".

The first part of my response is simply, "Pretty sells". Sure, we could
sell someone a spreadsheet or a bar graph, but a "pretty" product that
people enjoy using will be an easier sell. The second part of my
response is that visualization is a well documented and market validated
way of looking at data and to cite everyone from Tufte to Fry.

My current examples of fun/pretty interactive visualization projects
that are also business related are:

Wattenberg et al's Baby Name Wizard,
<http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager>, a fun way to dig through ~100
years of census data and a sales teaser for a book on choosing names for
babies.

NYT/Netflix interactive who-rented-what-where map:
<http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/10/nyregion/20100110-netflix-map.html>.

The Google-powered map of news stories across categories and countries,
<http://newsmap.jp>. I'm not sure how this makes money, but it's a nice
info wall for tracking what's hot in the news.

Suggestions for others of this quality that are als
professional/business sites? I'm trying to avoid political or art
visualizations as examples and are excluding projects like Many Eyes and
They Rule.

thx

(note to self: after the pitch, write up a wiki/blog post with a list
of all the good suggestions.)

--
J. E. 'jet' Townsend, IDSA
Design, Fabrication, Hacking
design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

Comments

21 Feb 2010 - 10:51pm
Timothy Jaeger
2010

J. eric,

I think that this (data visualization) is becoming a very hot, growing
field and that your examples are great.

In regards to the business logic behind this sort of thing, has anyone
checked out tools like this:

http://www.tableausoftware.com

http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/

http://www.swivel.com/

They seem more like they are geared towards business / professional usage.

Tim

> Kinda ixd-related, kinda-not. I've had an easy time pitching data
> visualization for art/design projects, but I'm making my first attempt
> at pitching it in a business as an area of research.
>
> The problem is to make the case for doing visualizations of public
> information past the spreadsheet/bar graph level. For example, twitter
> analysis of client-related keywords relative to verbs like "fail" or
> "return" or proper nouns like names of competing products. Part of the
> challenge is that one of the parties involved has referred to
> visualization as "making pretty pictures".
>
> The first part of my response is simply, "Pretty sells". Sure, we could
> sell someone a spreadsheet or a bar graph, but a "pretty" product that
> people enjoy using will be an easier sell. The second part of my
> response is that visualization is a well documented and market validated
> way of looking at data and to cite everyone from Tufte to Fry.
>
> My current examples of fun/pretty interactive visualization projects
> that are also business related are:
>
> Wattenberg et al's Baby Name Wizard,
> <http://www.babynamewizard.com/voyager>, a fun way to dig through ~100
> years of census data and a sales teaser for a book on choosing names for
> babies.
>
> NYT/Netflix interactive who-rented-what-where map:
> <http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/10/nyregion/20100110-netflix-map.html>.
>
> The Google-powered map of news stories across categories and countries,
> <http://newsmap.jp>. I'm not sure how this makes money, but it's a nice
> info wall for tracking what's hot in the news.
>
> Suggestions for others of this quality that are als
> professional/business sites? I'm trying to avoid political or art
> visualizations as examples and are excluding projects like Many Eyes and
> They Rule.
>
> thx
>
> (note to self: after the pitch, write up a wiki/blog post with a list
> of all the good suggestions.)
>
>

--

SignalFive
Timothy Jaeger
Co-Founder, Chief Creative Officer
Member: ACM, SIGCHI, IxDA, IAI
SignalFive
55 Washington Street, Suite 419E
Brooklyn, NY 11201

*Office:* 718-797-1080
*Cell:* 646-468-6835

tim at signalfive.com
http://signalfive.com/

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