Category Archives: infographics/data visualizations

Interactive: Des Moines Register’s game like feature story

desmoines1

The Des Moines Register recently produced an interactive feature called Harvest of Change. Designed with Oculus Rift in mind, the newspaper partnered with Gannet Digital to “to tell the story of an Iowa farm family using emerging virtual reality technology and 360-degree video.

The first of this five part series makes the user explore the farm to find icons that tell fragments of the story and unlock extras through special objects hidden in the scenario.

It wasn’t a thrilling experience for me, and though they add a 360º video to download, its 1.2 gb are taking too long.

Update: After downloading the file, we can watch a 360º video intro that will lead us to the farm setting and instead of pics  – like we have in the Des Moines Register website – we have videos. The navigation is a bit buggy though, and it sent me back to the intro more than once.

Probably the full series will be worth it, and this is definitely a great effort to bring virtual reality into news games and storytelling. But after unlocking all the photos and going through all the icons I can’t remember the story.

Was I too focused in the goal that somehow forgot to learn? This is a risk with this type of narratives. It must have some sort of challenge to be engaging:

“Games are about decision making, about consequences of actions. And while you are playing, you are picking up facts, pieces of the puzzle, learning tactics, because you have to, and want to, in order to progress to the next level.”

News as games: Immoral or the future of Interactive Journalism?

Maybe we’ll meet the farm boss in part 5. Until then, let’s stroll around and see what we can find.

desmoines2b

Data+Design – Free Ebook

Download this free ebook on how to use Data+Design to tell your stories:

Whether you’re writing an article for your newspaper, showing the results of a campaign, introducing your academic research, illustrating your team’s performance metrics, or shedding light on civic issues, you need to know how to present your data so that other people can understand it.

Regardless of what tools you use to collect data and build visualizations, as an author you need to make decisions around your subjects and datasets in order to tell a good story. And for that, you need to understand key topics in collecting, cleaning, and visualizing data.

This free, Creative Commons-licensed e-book explains important data concepts in simple language. Think of it as an in-depth data FAQ for graphic designers, content producers, and less-technical folks who want some extra help knowing where to begin, and what to watch out for when visualizing information.

Download the ebook

Eurosport’s Data World Cup infographic is great

Simple, usable, beautiful. Eurosport’s latest infographic “Data World Cup” correlates which clubs provided more World Cup winners, how far did the Ballon d’Or laureates get in the World Cup (none, which doesn’t bode well for Ronaldo), and other interesting information about the competing teams in Brazil 2014.

countries
Click to visit the infographic

What I like the most – besides the design – is how so much information is compressed to such a minimalistic presentation. The animations are tasteful, and they bring dynamic.

It is one of those examples that prove how infographics with dynamic design can be better than any other format.

Portfolio – Invasive plants Interactive map

One of the goals I set for the science communication  project where I was working was to build some interactive features. I built this phenological calendar and, more recently, an interactive map.

This map shows the origins of the most important invasive plant species in Portugal, and some Portuguese native plants that are invasive in other regions. It’s a simple, straightforward project , directed to a younger audience.

I used two different tools to build this. The navigation and content support is taken from the Fullscreen Pageflip Layout, as seen on Codrops, one of the most inspiring websites I ever came across, and a must follow. I made a concession here, because I’m not a huge fan of flipping pages on a screen, but I felt it worked better that way. It all works with HTML5&CSS3 plus Javascript wizardry.

The map was built with amMaps, a Javascript library package, that had just the right solution for this. I must send a shout out for their impeccable support, they were just awesome. Their maps can be used in so many different ways it made me want to use amMaps again for other projects. Try them out, and look at amCharts too. As a Javascript noob I thought it would be more complicated, but it was easier than I expected to build the map.

The flags’ sections were handmade by me and I got to apply some CSS expertise. One thing that I learned though, not all flags have the same proportions: some are wider than others. Go figure.

If you missed the two links to the map at the top, follow this one, and let me know what you think about it.

 

The Guardian creates the refugee game

Again, The Guardian. They have a new interactive story dedicated to Syrian refugees situation, and their hardships to find a safe haven far from the civil war afflicting their homeland.

The premise is that you are “a 28-year-old Sunni woman from Aleppo, and you have two children, a girl aged eight, and a 10-year-old boy. Your husband was killed in a mortar attack three months ago. The air strikes have continued – a recent bomb, you hear, killed 87 children – and you now feel you must try to leave Syria.”

At the end of each section, describing different scenarios faced by real refugees, dictated by legal, logistical and political parameters, you are presented with options. You have to choose carefully, to find refuge. The results are – to say the least – bleak.

The game logic applied to this story is a good way to empathize with the refugee situation, it looks simple, and it’s frustrating enough to gain awareness about the issue and, in the comfort of our homes, step into the refugees’ shoes.