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Interactive Graphic: Lead audience to go through a story in an enjoyable way

When I look for a good graphic, I don’t really have a lot of criteria for it. It just comes to me. I think the main point is: Does it tell a story effectively? Does it encourage you to consume all the information (or most of the information) successfully? When I found this graphic from Guardian about a bloody Sunday, I think I found the good graphic I have been looking for.

The subject itself is something that will attract people attention. I don’t think the topic of a specific dreaded Sunday that included shooting incidents can take credit for all the merits the graphic has, but I do think it matters. It will attract people, as least me, to start paying initial attention to it.

I think it’s a very successful interactive graphic. First of all, it’s simple and clean visually, and the dim background and the red color has a nice contrast. The information is really well organized, with an liner way of telling the story, which makes it easy for audience to follow the pace and understand the historical tragedy.

The simple “next” button and roll-over red dots make audience more willing to engage in the story. Like Patrick said, audiences like to control something, and good interactive graphic gives them that opportunity. About the controlling, I think this graphic is also great in offering “limited” controlling power to audiences, meaning the graphic designer still has control on how audiences process the information, because most of the information has already been well-planned, each slide has a “preset” presentation (though some of them have cool motion going on).

Another thing nice about the interactive details is that when you click on the “next” for the third time, there is a motion effect of “zoom-in” for a close up of the street where the shootings on a civil right march happened. I really think it’s a good idea to handle it this way. The motion makes the graphic more vivid and attractive, and also the zoom-in makes it possible for audiences to view a larger picture background and more detailed individual death.

I also like the way how they match those precious and compelling historical images and text explanation along the way to help audience understand what’s going on. It’s very effective in terms of conveying message. A combination of graphic and images should be something we need to think about when building our own graphic, especially when it comes to history, when there could be really attractive old photos.

The graphic was built in 2010, a little bit more than two years ago, but it doesn’t seem to be old at all. A lot of media outlets are still using this method to tell a story. I think the graphic designers probably spent some time in researching about the details of the historical event, and it might have spent them a month or two to put things together. I checked a few other clips of the two graphic designers, and found they were really into interactive graphics. Not necessarily super complicated Javascript-based ones, but just some clicks, roll-overs can make things much better.

I think this is something I really want to do. It’s nothing super complicated (probably contains some flash and javascript), but it’s effective in presenting information and adds to the joy of audiences by simply offering them some interactive opportunities.

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