Exploring some Aussie Visualisations.

October 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tasked with critiquing a few visualisations, I browsed around to see what Australian Information Visualisations there were. To be honest, there wasn’t many. The few that could be found were the result of competitions, challenges or government initiatives.

ABS is locally well known as a good source of data. Their population pyramid is a nice interactive visualisation of the past and predicted evolving population of Australia. The visualisation is very formal, with a standard timeline slider, the stacked bar chart is a standard method of visualizing population growth. Additional statistics, options, and mouseover highlights also nicely present more detailed information, allowing a user to drill into more detail.

ABS’ spotlight is a very nice, flash (with alternate html version), information visualisation that presents information as a linear narrative on one’s personal census data. The fact that it is linear does restrict some exploration, but the input of personal data makes the presentation itself personal. The narration and simplistic animations keeps the visualisation interesting for it’s duration. Due to this approach, it has a nice style and is very easy to understand.

Mashup Australia (24hr challenge) turned up some nice information visualisations, one that attracted me stylistically was “Know Where You Live“. It too presents a linear narrative, but told as a static infographic (provided with the viewer’s postcode). It’s two-three color style was especially attractive. However, though the narrative was well presented by numbers as text, there was little visual encoding between graphics and the data. General information (such as state averages) would also have been extremely beneficial in contextualizing the local information. This visualisation could re-appropriate some things from Nicholas Felton’s own approach with visual narrative and encoding.


Another product of Mashup Australia was ‘Suburban Trends‘ which allows one to explore various suburbs. Overall the visualisation’s style is above-average. Interface elements that allow the selection and search of different suburbs require more attention (hence, like the other mashup, requires more context). The representation of differences across different suburbs requires some work (though, like all multidimensional datasets, this is quite complex). It does well when visualisaing information on single suburbs. Quite a functional infographic.


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