Search statistics about human trends through Google and watch it move with Gapminder. This is an interesting Flash application allowing to see changes of data over time.

Screenshot of the gapminder tool

[via Tim Bruysten]

There is also a video of the presentation. I especially found interesting what the presenter was saying about designers. He was showing this slides like this one:

Presentation slide showing how databases connect to design tools

And then he said things like this

  • »There are people that know how to deal with these tools. It’s just that those guys and girls didn’t go to a statistics course, so they don’t know about data. So they don’t manage to get that data in their design tools….«
  • »These things are dificult for designers to make look nice, because it’s so much data….«
  • »The weather forecast every day …. nice graphics, they have data…. humidity, wind …. they don’t show these numbers… they get a lot of publicitiy with their weather forecast just by drawing nice suns, beautiful colors… so these are the guys to copy in social science!«

I wouldn’t say that drawing »nice suns« is what is the secret to good weather forecasts, but the statement reminded me of the fact that few years ago I planned to offer a seminar called »Forecast« and it was supposed to examine this topic with this intention: to learn how to deal visually with huge data sets. Unfortunatly most of the students thought it is a boring idea to design weather forecasts and so they didn’t share my excitement. So the course never came into being. Not yet.

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