Using that second display: 4 news visualisations of questionable utility

For both yours and my ever decreasing attention spans, in the race to distinguish and spice up the daily news product, here’s more news, shallower, and faster.

MSNBC Spectra screenshot

Spectra from MSNBC is a pretty terrible romp into 3D. Pretty, but completely unusable and just rather useless. You select what channels of news you want, and as you do a selection of stories from each channel floats into the display as a rotating ring. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could actually click on the floating news items. But no, that does something completely unexpected, it ejects that entire ring of stores. To get to a story you want, you have to navigate via a ridiculous horizontal scrollbar. I thought we had learnt in the 90s that 3D interfaces like this just don’t work. From Information Aesthetics via Data Mining.


Moving from the realms of insanity to just the slightly overwhelming comes Newsmap, based off Google News.

Digg\'s \"Big Spy\" visualization

Digg\'s \"Stack\" visualization

From the very epitome of fickle and populist news rivers comes a selection of cool-looking, fast moving and not really that value-additive visualizations at their Labs section.

Mapped Up screenshot

Finally comes a low-key (and the most embeddable of the lot) Flash widget that just rotates geo-coded stories on a world map.


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