Tag Archives: info graphics

Game-y Information Graphics: Salubrious Nation

Inspired by the recent Design for America contest, I’ve been advancing the notion of Game-y Information Graphics with Rutgers Ph.D. student Funda Kivran-Swaine.¬† Using data published by the HHS Community Health Data Initiative we designed a game-y info graphic called Salubrious Nation. The idea is pretty simple really: we’re exploring the application of aspects of game design such as goals, scores, and advancement to news and information graphics. How do users understand an info graphic differently when it’s presented as a game? Do they have different insights? Do they explore more of the underlying data which drives the graphic?

Screen shot 2010-06-07 at 4.50.14 PM“Salubrious” as we call it asks users to guess the community health of counties across the nation by using hints such as demographic data and map-based visual feedback to inform their guesses. Heavily data-driven. The closer the player’s guess to the actual data, the more points they get. The fun of it is in trying to use the statistics that are revealed (things like poverty rate, life expectancy, and unemployment rate) to guess the hidden data (such as obesity, smoking, air pollution etc.) At the end of a series of increasingly difficult “levels” the player can see how they stack up against other people who have completed the game. Try it out here.

One nice aspect of this approach is that as we develop more game mechanics that fit well in the genre, different data sources can be plugged in very easily. Another hope is such game-y presentations of data will encourage users to engage more deeply with the content. We’ll be assessing these properties of the medium more formally this summer and hope to report the results soon!