Posted May 8, 2013 in links, visualisation | No Comments so far
Fast Company has a piece about a research project which redraws the map of the United States based on the movement of paper currency.
Dirk Brockmann, a theoretical physicist, is the person responsible for it. He thinks that state lines are arbitrary boundaries with no relation to how people actually live and move around, and that we should rethink our representations of how human societies arrange themselves across geographic space.
In one such effort he’s taken data from a website called Where’s George which tracks the movements of dollar bills, and used it to draw a new map of the US whose borders indicate the regions where money tends to circulate. The thicker a blue line, the less likely it is that paper currency will cross it.
Dirk Brockmann’s US map based on the movements of dollar bills
One thing that leaps out at me is the circular region with Chicago at its centre. This region’s boundary starts in the north-east and follows the Appalatians southwards for a bit, flattening out westwards when it meets the Kentucky-Tennessee border, then curving back up to the north as it crosses St Louis. If you used its borders to create a new state – let’s call it “Chicago State” it would eat up parts of nine existing states, including all of Michigan, all of Ohio, and the western half of Pennsylvania.
I like this kind of analysis as it recognises the fluidity of human societies and takes advantage of information that would have been nigh on impossible to obtain a couple of decades ago. Projects like this help us learn more about the real ‘shapes’ of the countries and areas we live in.
Tags: data, maps, money | Comments (0)
Posted February 3, 2011 in links | No Comments so far
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the design strategy of Apple’s store on Regent Street. I was interested in how, by stripping out money and its visual signifiers, Apple were deliberately creating a space where a direct and emotional connection could form between visitors and the products.
Anyway, here are a few links about the Apple Store that I thought I’d post up here, in case anyone’s interested.
- Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is the firm of architects that has designed Apple stores across the globe. Their approach to the Regent Street store was to “edit distracting elements from the visual field” to create a serene environment in which “Apple’s products gracefully assume center stage”.
- The Atlantic reported in October last year that more than 74.5 million people had visited one of the 317 Apple stores across the world in the preceding quarter, setting a new record for footfall in retail.
- Back in 2009, Social Episodes wrote about the Apple Store customer experience far more extensively than I did, relating it to six “laws” of customer service. I like the story of the Apple staff keeping their cool when, after spending lots of time with a customer complaining about iTunes syncing, they discovered that he didn’t even have it installed on his PC.
So whatever Apple is doing with its retail stores, it’s obviously doing it well.
Tags: apple, retail, retail space | Comments (0)
Posted November 6, 2009 in links | No Comments so far
Posted October 30, 2009 in links | No Comments so far
Visual timeline of internet meme history, to before the creation of the first emoticon. If you ask me, though, the fun doesn't really begin until 1990 when the term Godwin's Law was first coined. Of course everything went haywire in 1993 once Eternal September began.
Posted October 27, 2009 in links | No Comments so far
Since 1998 Rolf Molich's work has indicated that usability experts rarely form consensus views. His Comparative Usability Evaluations show that different teams will identify different issues, and their findings rarely overlap. Does this reflect flaw in methodology, or something more basic?
Posted August 17, 2009 in links | No Comments so far
"It is said that an economist is someone who sees something that works in practice and wonders whether it works in theory. Twitter clearly works in practice…" – but how does it work in theory? In this articulate and erudite post, Kevin Marks explains the theoretical framework he uses to understand Twitter's undoubted appeal.
Posted August 13, 2009 in links | No Comments so far
The WSJ's Numbers Guy looks critically at dating sites and their claims of success. Online metrics provide powerful insights but are very easy to manipulate, exaggerate and spin. The online dating industry is particularly prone to this sort of thing as these numbers are what their business live and die by
Posted December 31, 2008 in links | No Comments so far
"Welcome to the museum of lost interaction; a timeline of innovation. Nine exhibits ranging from 1900 to 1979, comprising audio recording machines, wireless morse communicators, portable video to the precurser behind iTunes. The museum holds an inspirational array of invention, guaranteed never to have been found, documented or exhibited ever before…"
"Good user interfaces are crucial for good user experience. It doesn’t matter how good a technology is — if we, designers, don’t manage to make user interface[s] as intuitive and attractive as possible, the technology will hardly reach a breakthrough…"
"This is a collection of small multiples of game controllers of the main gaming systems from the past 25 years, spanning from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Wii. The images have been normalized, and the hands are all approximately the same size as each other, and thus the controllers all to scale…"