Music like you've never seen it.

When visualizations do their job, they enable you to see patterns that are otherwise invisible. These videos by Andy Fillebrown are fantastic visualizations because they bring the symmetry, complexity, and patterns of music to life in an elegant way.

In this form, music is not just beautiful to hear but is also beautiful to see. To me, it is even more beautiful that the human brain is capable of remembering and reciting such a complex set of data — and we simply call it "playing".

What are better than slides? JellyBeans

The backbone of your presentation is always your story. Your visuals exist to make your story more powerful, so it's important to choose them carefully.

Presentation visuals do not have to be limited to slides. In fact, it's often much more powerful to use props when they make sense.

This video from Ze Frank is a perfect example of the power of props as visuals. It is a moving and inspirational visualization of a human lifespan, told with 28,835 JellyBeans.

I guarantee you will remember this better than if he had used slides to tell the same story.

Design lesson from Fox News: Accurate charts matter


This recent chart from Fox News is an example of how an inaccurately designed chart can be horribly misleading. Take a look at the relative position of the 8.6% for the month of November on the far right.

Charts should make trends in large sets of data more clear. Using them to mislead is wrong.

Source: FlowingData: Fox News still makes awesome charts

And also check out: FlowingData: Best pie chart ever

I love data visualization.

My friend and fellow blogger Harrison Brookie recently sent me this great TED talk by David McCandless. For those of us who love data visualization, it's a real treat. 

My favorite line in the talk is:

"There's something almost magical about visual information. It's effortless. It literally pours in. If you're navigating a dense information jungle, coming across a beautiful visualization is a relief. It's like coming across a clearing in the jungle."

Source: TED Blog

TED Talk: Are we in control of our decisions?

Check out this great TED talk from Dan Ariely about human decision making. I personally love this kind of research. Though it can be a little disconcerting, it's fascinating to learn about the brain and how we're not always in as much control of our perception as we think.

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist and the author of Predictably Irrational. From a presentation design standpoint, his talk is a perfect example of how a data-driven speech can be made captivating when combined with the magic ingredients — 1) good storytelling, and 2) visual slides.

Dan is one of these rare academics who bridges the gap between academia and the general public. His research is cutting edge in the scientific community, and he is able to share it (both writing and speaking) in a way that engages just about everyone.

I've had a chance to hear Dan speak in person several times and can say his presentations are always crowd pleasers. Enjoy!

Dan Ariely TED Talk

This is what's happening.

Sprint's new ad campaign, What's Happening, is making some serious waves. The ads are brilliant examples of effective marketing and great presentation design.

Sprint spent a lot of money building a new 4G network and had to figure out how to show it off. They could have taken the traditional approach and created a campaign that explains the network's new features (e.g. "you can transfer so many megabytes per second on our new network!"), but in reality people don't care much about features — they care about benefits.

My favorite example of selling benefits instead of features was when Steve Jobs first introduced the iPod in 2001. He didn't describe the iPod as a "4GB music player"; it was "a thousand songs in your pocket". Big difference.

Sprint clearly understands the power of selling benefits because instead of focusing on what their network can do, their campaign demonstrates what people can do on their network, and on an incredible scale.

The ads are slick examples of how proper pacing, dynamic visuals, and the right amount of humor can make a fact and data driven presentation extremely compelling to watch. You'll definitely find inspiration in these videos for new, creative ways to present your data in future presentations.

Check out one of the ads below.