Wealth Inequality in America (by politizane)

I’m pretty late to the game here—everyone and their dog in the data-viz blogosphere must have linked to this video already—but I believe I should still make an effort to tell you why this video deserves so much recognition:

Wealth Inequality In America encapsulates how to craft a compelling narrative out of data.

I’d like to point out three noteworthy elements you can learn from it.

  1. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a call to action to drive your message. You will find that at the end of the video it will sum up the narrative by telling you to realize what the situation is. There is no nudge what you should do about it, no step for you to take after watching the video. The message is all about insight, not about action and it works better for it.

  2. You can make a successful narrated animated infographic, an explainy video if you will, with somber pacing that goes over 5 minutes. The video starts off with suspense as the storytelling device to draw you in. Giving you just enough information to make you question your own knowledge and wishing to know what others think (always a powerful motivator, curiosity about our peers) and what you may not know. From the big reveal onwards the narrative kicks in and creates the 1% persona, giving the audience an avatar to picture themselves in, somewhere in the 99% range

  3. Translating numbers into charts and charts into stories works best once you cover the angle of how these charts and numbers are relevant to your audience. Find that angle and you find a story you can tell with the data. Take cues from how this video breaks down the complexity into bite sized chunks. The very same technique could be used to sway a board when you have to present in a meeting, or get investors to follow your reasoning.

As a quip to Edward Tufte:1 This presentation style surely could have empowered NASA engineers to prevent a catastrophe.


  1. He is famous for writing groundbreaking books about data visualization. Unfortunately what he has to say about Powerpoint is just as popular, if ill informed. 

I was digging through some old bookmarks of mine that were relevant to upcoming work in which I will attempt to wed presentation design and motion graphics. That’s when I came across this little gem from Marco Bagni, a motion graphics artist from Berlin. Obviously not all of it translates to the way I envision dynamic infographics1 to work, but wow, lots of inspiration in a very compact space.

InfoGraphic Reel (by Marco Bagni - LostConversation)


  1. Dynamic infographics is a working title for the concept I’m testing. This concept will have to work in the goldilocks condition paradigm of dual channel coding, the marketing phrase I invented for the method in which presentations and narrated animations, aka explainy videos, combine verbal and visual information. Catchy isn’t it? 

How A Virus Changes The World (by takepart)

This video is almost a year old and I just wanted to see if it turned out indicative of evolving trends in the way narratives are spun and pacing is ever more hectic in explainy1 web videos.

I have to say that the scat man voiceover and breakneck transitions are surely beyond an attention threshold that would stand up to recalling the factoids that are thrown at the viewer long term—and it is evident from the YouTube comments that even the audience there feels overwhelmed by the speed of delivery. 2 fast for uToob, zomg11! Then again I doubt that this video was meant to work as an information motion graphic.2 It’s effect, apart from the slightly meandering visual design language, derives mainly from evoking a feeling of familiarity in the maelstrom through clever use of pop culture reference woven into the mundane.

That may be a neat way to get the attention of a pop culture savvy audience looking for a visual snack, but I wonder how long the effect lasts: both the recollection rate and perceptiveness of the audience is likely to suffer over time. The health information is not tied to any overarching concepts that have longevity nor are they tied to an emotional response that would help recall the information. Ask yourself tomorrow just how much you remember about the video without watching it again. Secondly, using very audience specific hooks will probably not let the video age gracefully, as many of the references are likely to be lost on different or future audiences.3

I’m undecided as to how the style itself (using the aforementioned techniques) will project into the future, but I did not see too many popular videos from the explainy genre picking up this drastic kind of fast-food information consumption just yet. That may just be me, though. The pacing sure works for YouTube audiences in game reviews or vlogs, so perhaps we’ll get to see that kind of tempo in Super Bowl commercials eventually.


  1. I may just use this word more often. Explainy. That surely is one lasting trend among web videos. About 400 Internet years old now, so I guess these kind of videos have become a cultural technique that is here to stay and spawn sub-genres in the future. 

  2. Motion information graphic? Animated information graphic? 

  3. Also, speaking of references, there is the egregious failure to mention the one true safe haven in case of a pandemic: Madagascar.