Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New visualization: Rhythm of Food

The second project coming out of my collaboration with Google News Lab has just been published. It was designed by Moritz Stefaner, and it's titled Rhythm of Food. As in the case of the first visualization in this series, Worldpotus, I can't take credit for anything other than talking to Moritz and Google News Lab's Simon Rogers every week or two to offer some feedback here and there.

(Simon has written about this visualization.)

Rhythm of Food reveals how Google searches for food have varied since 2004 through a series of fun circular plots. Some of you may contend that more traditional graphs —time-series line graphs?— may have been more appropriate, but I'd disagree; just consider: a) the goal here isn't accuracy, but to reveal overall, general patterns, b) the circular plots fit well on mobile screens, c) they are visually alluring, d) they look like food on a dish —OK, perhaps not a strong reason,— e) you can see the data as line graphs by clicking on the + symbol of each chart. Here:

The point is that, as in the case of Worldpotus and other projects we'll release in the future —next one will likely be one by Jan Willem Tulp in January,— we're trying to let people see data in multiple ways: As eye-catching and sometimes unorthodox charts first, and as more bread-and-butter graphs or tables if they want further detail.

We're also trying to combine the narrative/explanatory with the exploratory. This project first describes the data, highlights some interesting cases —annotating peaks— and then it lets you explore at will.

Here are some early exploratory sketches; enjoy: