"storytelling" entries

Telling your data’s story

How storytelling can enhance the effectiveness of your visualizations.

Editor’s note: this post is part of our investigation into Big Data Design and Social Science. Michael Freeman covers the use of storytelling frameworks in visualizations in his new tutorial video “Using Storytelling to Effectively Communicate Data.”

Visualizing complex relationships in big data often requires involved graphical displays that can be intimidating to users. As the volume and complexity of data collection and storage scale exponentially, creating clear, communicative, and approachable visual representations of that data is an increasing challenge. As a data visualization specialist, I frightened one of my first sets of collaborators when I suggested using this display:

Data Visualization

What I had failed to communicate was that we would use a story structure to introduce audiences to the complex layout (you can see how I did it here).

This image captures three emerging limitations in big data visualization:

  1. Unclear visual encodings: People don’t know what each visual symbol represents
  2. Too much data: The volume of information displayed is overwhelming
  3. Too many variables: Simultaneous encodings of color, position, size, etc. precludes fully understanding each dimension

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Top Stories: June 11-15, 2012

The future of desktops, ethics and big data, narrative vs spreadsheets.

This week on O'Reilly: Josh Marinacci predicted that 90% of computer users will rely on mobile, but 10% will still need desktops; the authors of "Ethics of Big Data" explored data's trickiest issues; and Narrative Science CTO Kris Hammond discussed narrative's role in data analytics.

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Top stories: February 13-17, 2012

A brief history of O'Reilly books, how to think about and create visualizations, the fundamentals of publishing.

This week on O'Reilly: Tim O'Reilly looked back on important titles from O'Reilly's history, Pete Warden explained the thoughts and actions behind his latest visualization, and LeVar Burton reminded the TOC 2012 audience why storytelling matters.

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A story takes shape amidst tweets and pauses

Novelist Reif Larsen takes to Twitter to tell a short story.

The novelist Reif Larsen did something on Twitter recently that showed how sometimes the best stories are those that arrive in small morsels, spaced generously.

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Storytelling Through Book Spines

The Sorted Books project puts book spines to work as storytelling devices: The process is the same in every case: culling through a collection of books, pulling particular titles, and eventually grouping the books into clusters so that the titles can be read in sequence, from top to bottom. The final results are shown either as photographs of the book…

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Short Fiction Renaissance Enabled by Digital

Gary Gibson makes a good observation about the forms of fiction enabled by e-readers. From The Digitalist: There's a potentially very positive aspect to ebooks in relation to short fiction I hadn't previously considered. Publishers rarely produce collections of short fiction in meaningful numbers any more because they long ago ceased to be cost-effective; much of my early reading…

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Game Re-creates Lost Oakland Neighborhood

My hat's off to the release of a superb project out of the UC Berkeley Journalism School that re-creates a "lost" and once vibrant neighborhood of Oakland, 7th Street: There's much more to be done — developing a curriculum so grade school students can use the game to learn about 7th Street and the blues and jazz scene (we got…

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Storytelling 2.0: Alternate Reality Games

Storytelling is no longer passive entertainment. Alternate reality games are one new way publishers are engaging readers and turning them into participants.

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