The above image is a screen shot of a really great interactive infographic from Bloomberg.com. The tool lets see the rank of the top 100 billionaires on any given day and filter or organized by gender, age, industry, and so on. It even lets you see see how rank changes on any given day.
The graphic reminds me of a seminar I attended by Edward Tufte on the vizualization of data. I went to the conference thinking I would get some new approaches that would make my client presentations more interesting in PowerPoint. I thought I wasted my money about 20 minutes in when Mr. Tufte mentioned he had a deep seeded hatred of my bread and butter presentation tool. Not exactly nuggets of gold for someone who spent about 75% of his time reformatting tables and charts from Excel to fit a slide deck.
Lucky for me, I did get some good lessons out of it. The biggest of which was that any display of visual data should let the reader consume a story at their own pace. The best presentations of data capture multiple kinds of data and potential insights into one view. Perhaps the best example of that principle in practice is the video of Bach, “Little” Fugue below. In one snapshot you are given data on note length, tone, and each notes place in time with ease.
Kind of fun to watch as well don’t ya think?