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Next to its sexy visualization for-the-masses called Many Eyes, data-crazy IBM has some more serious clientèle to cater for. Its "ILOG Elixir development team" shows off the data rendering capabilities of Adobe Flex through the online demonstration World Factbook Dashboard [ibm.com]. The heavily stylized application contains various gauges, 3D column and pie charts, a radar chart, a treemap and a world map view, which are all coordinated and synced through some very smooth animated effects. The different views also allow for the dynamic, user-driven scaling of the color legend, while countries can be compared by those in their immediate neighborhood.

Exploring such data-rich dashboards seem to provide me with a weird sensation I cannot put my finger on. Is it information-interaction-overload? Is it visual aesthetics? Or a mismatch in intended target audience? Why is this (personal) impression so different from, let's say, the recent World Bank Data Dashboard? I am not sure...

More information about this dashboard is available here. For those interested, there is also a similar real-time dashboard showing web statistics here.

See also:
. OECD Explorer
. The World Bank Open Data
. Gapminder Desktop
. CO2 Scorecard


I know what you mean Andrew, it is a wierd sensation. I think it comes from the colour scheme, with the black background having such a draining influence on the eye particularly in its influence on the scope of colours having to be used on the graph elements.

With a white background (as in the World Bank dashboard) you have far more scope for pastels, soft shades of grey etc. but with a black background you are either forced into using primary colours or strong hues to create visual emphasis or using softer shades and seeing them disappear somewhat.

Interestingly, you often see black backgrounds used on information displays associated with critical or instant decision making such as Aviation or Stock Exchanges. I've never quite got to the bottom of the explanation for this but I am keen to find out more as I think it is a critical visual decision that has a huge effect on the ultimate display.

Thu 29 Jul 2010 at 3:40 AM

Another interesting is

Found through: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trendalyzer

Thu 29 Jul 2010 at 10:31 PM

Hmmmm, looks like this might be a triumph of beauty over truth.

The data might come from the CIA World Fact book, but from what year?

The population of the UK is quoted as 58.5 million, which is close to the 2001 census level, but not the 61.1 million to 62.0 million estimate for 2010 quoted by the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia respectively.

Worse, the GDP of the UK is shown as $1,138,400 billion which would be great if it were true. But the 2009 figure from the online World Factbook suggests it should be $2.184 trillion, which is more believable. I'm guessing they are out by a factor of 1,000 on 2001 data.

It doesn't matter how nice your visualisation is if it is based on uncertain data - any conclusions you might draw will be erroneous.

All fur coat and no knickers.

Wed 01 Sep 2010 at 8:49 AM

My buddy told me about it and says it's in pre-release right now and that is how he got ahold of it. Really similar to SENuke for web2.0... http://titanmarketingtools.com.
I couldn't find their contact link... sorry if this is a little off topic, I'm new!


Thu 16 Sep 2010 at 3:52 PM

I am working with some CRM that really clean dashboards. I look at this and my brain goes numb.

Sat 10 Sep 2011 at 8:59 AM

For me, it's definitely the "information-interaction-overload," as you put it. I really like all the visuals and find it appealing to look at -- from a distance. Up close, though, it's just too overwhelming. In the case of the wrong target audience, maybe they need a better marketing strategy to get it to the right people (obviously, not me since I am bewildered by it, nor you since you don't find it appealing).

Wed 19 Oct 2011 at 7:58 PM
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