Wow vs. Ah-ha for data graphics

Jul 8, 2011

After attending the Eyeo Festival, Zach Gemignani of Juice Analytics noticed a difference in the approach of artists and his own practices with business-related data:

The artists are looking for an emotional “wow” moment; our goal is the “ah ha” moment when a user learns something that can lead to productive action. The question that we so often ask: “what can you do about it?” wasn’t a top priority within the Eyeo crowd.

One group is telling a specific story and the other is searching for one. That’s not to say that one way or the other is bad, however. Each group can benefit from the other:

Ultimately this art vs. practice dichotomy is natural and healthy. In our work, we are inspired by the fun and energy expressed in artistic visualizations. Data visualization is a tool that can and should be used differently depending on the purpose and the audience. The skill in using the tool can be appreciated equally across these different contexts.

There’d be a lot less ruffled feathers if we could all remember that.

[Juice Analytics]

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