NYTimes.com Transcends our Concept of “The Newspaper”

August 6, 2010

by Dionne Aiken

Visited nytimes.com lately?  Maybe you logged on during the World Cup

or to track the oil spill.  Well if you haven’t logged on lately you’re missing out.

In such a dynamic information arena, where consumers can get “info-on-demand,” via the Web, smart phone and tech devices in a matter of seconds, some newspapers continue the struggle to keep up – others, like The New York Times, remain forerunners by taking advantage of this dynamic platform.  They grab the reigns and race ahead transcending our concept of the newspaper and news delivery.

In a recent interview, Steve Duenes and Archie Tse from The New York Times graphics department talk about the extensive work that goes into creating all the graphics on the news site.  When you think about the size of the site, the amount of information and small window of turnaround time, this begins to look like a daunting task fit only for a magician.

Duenes & Tse say that starting with a simple (yet sophisticated) foundation is critical in creating graphics that are sustainable but also expandable so that as information is added they hold up over time.  This process involves a lot of painstaking work and sorting through data to effectively communicate data, stories and messages in the clearest manner possible.

The end result?  Their graphics direct in amazing story telling.

From climate changes timelines, to carbon dioxide emissions

interactive tours though Broadway

or the number of Frisks in NYC.

For journalist, editors, and designers alike message delivery and how we tell our story is an important task.  It’s just data but it really all depends on how you look at it.


Kanye West, Social Media and Great Design

September 14, 2009

by Dionne Aiken

Fans and viewers everywhere began twittering away about Kanye West’s disorderly conduct at the MTV Video Music Awards.

We saw a visual representation of this as his profile picture bubble grew to enormous proportions on the VMA Twitter Tracker:

This dynamic tracker created by social media measurement company Radian6 and design firm Stamen, is a real – time visual display of users’ twittering activity on Twitter.  In creating this tracker, they were able to translate complex statistical information into something visually pleasing and tangible that people can easily relate to.  This is a powerful example of what happens when design and technology come together in an innovative and engaging way.

Another example of this is Flickr’s new clock … It’s a visual representation of recently uploaded videos arranged chronologically to give a broad look at what’s being posted in the Flickr community.

In these two examples, we see the critical role design plays in how we receive and interpret information especially on the Web and on social media platforms.

By finding new and creative approaches to design and visual communication we can inform, as well as engage and connect with our audiences.

So when great design and technology combine, we see form and function at its best.


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