Big data made less daunting

Big data has buzz — I even saw a guy recently wearing a t-shirt saying “I like big data and I cannot lie.” But big data is also daunting. It evokes images of being crushed under the weight of information, like the knowledge workers in Alan Lightman’s Diagnosis.

So I found it refreshing to write this piece on big data turned into a field of flowers. The OECD’s Better Life Index¬† takes a great deal of data and lets you decide what’s most important to you, depicted as a flower.


It’s the opposite of dumbing down the data — it makes it more meaningful. As designer Moritz Stefaner noted, large data sets about humans often lend themselves to natural visualizations.
The piece is for a new publication, Data Informed, which aims to demystify the volume of data that is now gathered, in part through looking at clever visualizations.

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