It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

Don’t forget the conclusion! Data-driven decision-making for everyday choices by Nheeda Enriquez
March 23, 2010, 2:22 am
Filed under: consumer behavior, delighters, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

photo via easybloom (click for larger)

At work, I’ve been thinking a lot about how consumers consume data and use it to make everyday decisions.  Now that we live in always-connected, info-lusting world, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that there are examples of it everywhere after I leave the office.  I’ve been using a calorie-counting app on my iPhone to balance food with exercise over the last two weeks.  I’ve played around with and TurboTax to make decisions that deal with money.

Over the weekend, I used a sensor-based device called EasyBloom to decide what seeds to plant in my backyard, based on the chemistry of the soil and the amount of sun it gets (clearly, my plants get no sun at night, as the picture will above confirms.)  And while the chart is nice to have for reference, what’s far more important about the data is what I should do about it.  Since I’m no gardener, the insight and the expert recommendations that companies make for me is where the value lives.

I’ve written about data visualization before, and there’s many many beautiful examples of it everywhere.  Then what’s the lesson here?  Sometimes as designers and businessfolks, we forget to finish drawing the conclusion and offer the viewer a point of view by which to process those great charts, graphs, and lines.  Be that an insight, a recommendation, or a call to action, remember to give consumers the ending!

Yeah, but so what? Visualizing the impact by Nheeda Enriquez

I’m eternally advocating the use of good information design and visuals, and every time I see a good one, I take notice and tell everyone I know.  Especially if it translates what would have been hard to interpret data and answers the question: “Yeah, but so what?!” to make is useful.


This one by Dutch design firm Studio:ludens animates the amount of a good that is produced a second.  If I just read the facts verbally, they wouldn’t be as interesting, but showing us what that means in the context of something I am familiar with (in this case, time) then it comes alive.

Another example I saw some time back is a Microsoft commercial attacking the iPod for its Zunepass music subscription service.  Even though I’m a longtime Mac fan, this campaign actually got my attention by reframing a simple pain: it takes $30,000 to fill your iPod with songs.