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