Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

This video describes the lending practices that led to economic meltdown using images and narration that are understandable to the average person. While it is not a traditional visualization which directly maps economic data to some graphic, I think it is far more useful than the standard line graphs and pie charts for people who have not studied economics past high school but still want to stay informed about why the economy is behaving the way it is.

The video succeeds at presenting its information in a comprehensible manner by keeping it within the mental model of the target audience. Each of the pieces of the credit equation shown in the video are depicted as what a typical homeowner thinks of them as. Money is shown as dollar bills, houses are houses, and fat investment bankers are fat investment bankers. There are no abstract bars or lines, only real, concrete objects that are instantly familiar to the viewer. Combined with the simple narration, this visual style effectively presents the viewer with all of the information they need to know to understand the situation without confusing them with too much detail and clutter.

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