Reading the landscape
When simple arithmetic doesn't cut it

Motion-sick, or just sick?

Reader Irene R. was asked by a client to emulate this infographic movie, made by UNIQLO, the Japanese clothing store.

Here is one screen shot of the movie:


This is the first screen of a section; from this moment, the globes dissolve into clusters of photographs representing the survey respondents, which then parade across the screen. Irene complains of motion sickness, and I can see why she feels that way.

Here is another screen shot:


Surprisingly, I don't find this effort completely wasteful. This is because I have read a fair share of bore-them-to-tears compilation of survey research results - you know, those presentations with one multi-colored, stacked or grouped bar chart after another, extending for dozens of pages.

There are some interesting ideas in this movie. They have buttons on the lower left that allow users to look at subgroups. You'll quickly find the limitations of such studies by clicking on one or more of those buttons... the sample sizes shrink drastically.

The use of faces animates the survey, reminding viewers that the statistics represent real people. I wonder how they chose which faces to highlight, and in particular, whether the answers thus highlighted represent the average respondent. There is a danger that viewers will remember individual faces and their answers more than they recall the average statistics.


If the choice is between a thick presentation gathering dust on the CEO's desk and this vertigo of a movie that perhaps might get viewed, which one would you pick?



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I can sympathize with the sentiment that moving pictures with human faces are going to attract more attention, but did you manage to get it to hold still long enough to learn anything at all? I didn't.


I thought their project at was something different.


Screenshot 2 would be improved by putting the labels in the font size used for the numbers, if not bigger, and banishing the numbers. If you look at the chart, you can already see that one of the data points is almost 2/3 of the total - why repeat yourself? Having seen it, you want to know what it is.

If you wanted to be funky, you could just have the text labels scaled by the data, for greater austerity of design.

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