Category Archives: All Blog Posts

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Stock Market Visualizations

By | Web Design | No Comments

I miss the old Map of the Market which was online since 1998 and was one of the first visualizations on the web.

This was long my go to site for a quick update on how the market was doing. Who is up, who is down, and why? It seems SmartMoney has sold out and removed it. Perhaps after 15 years, and since it was build with Flash, the time had come.

That left me looking around for a replacement. I found this one at FinViz

Each square is sized according to it’s market capitalization (the relative cost to buy every share at its current price). As you can see, you can buy about 2 Googles or 3 ExxonMobiles for the price of 1 Apple. When you see the market like this you get a sense of how big (of over/under valued) some of these stock might be. Another cool feature of this chart is the Bubble view:

This shows how far from the pack Apple is. When you zoom out to see more of the world you can see how big the stock market has become.

What I was interested in is the Health Care sector which as you can see bigger than Industrial Goods (the so called Military Industrial complex), bigger than Oil

Below is a screenshot from the desktop tool StockTouch which, by the way, I discovered when it was an editors choice in the Apple App Store. It has a good interface to drill deep and read the news, but the one thing I miss about the original is how it showed the relative size of each industry and stock. This chart treats them all as equals (if the make it into the top 100 that is). I would not recommend this for OS X – it worked fine on the Ipad.

Home Depot’s new bucket shows why design matters

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Home Depot has a new bucket – and it tells an important story about the importance of user centered design applied to even the most boring corners of your business.

bucket_website

In case you live under a rock, the most profitable company of the 21st century so far has been Apple. How did they make all that money? By rethinking old things that everyone else thought were finished – the PC, the MP3 player (iPod), the cell phone (iPhone), the wrist watch.

The trend is not unnoticed as other companies look on their shelves for items that have not been designed in many decades.

Examples:
Nest built a company around the boring AC thermostat.
nest-thermostat-auto-away

And now Home Depot is starting its own line of vertically integrated, high design lines … starting with – the bucket.

Home Depot | The Big Gripper from Lincoln Street Studios on Vimeo.

The bucket is a classic example of user centered design created by observing real users, noting their obvious problems and solving them with obvious solutions. (Obvious and yet neglected for however many decades people have been making buckets and now patented by Home Depot.) I personally love going to these stores. Not only are you surprised and delighted at ever corner by the innovative solutions to common problems, but you discover something new every trip.

Youtube in the 1980’s

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Anything that can be digital, will be. But the reverse is also true, anything that can be done online could also be done in the pre-digital, analog world – it would have just been less efficient (sometimes to the point of being impractical). Take Youtube for example:

I saw this video years ago and lost it. It took me a long time to find it again.

Why this is important:

It can be a useful creative exercise to “reverse design” a solution and trace it back to its real world parallels. By understanding what would have to happen to do the same thing without the web we get a better grasp of the governance and processes required and even the feasibility of the idea. After all, computers can automate any process, but you have to HAVE a process that you can at least imagine doing without computers first. There is nothing magic about computers. You can only get out what you put in. So if a client is asking for a solution, but can not even imagine where content will come from, I send them to this video.

JPG vs JPEG

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In case you were wondering: .jpg and .jpeg are the exact same thing. Back in DOS days file extensions could only be 3 letters so the JPEG format – (which stands for Joint Photographic Expert Group) was further abbreviated as JPG. Now that computers allow more than 3 letters – JPEG is sometimes used. But for some of us, old habits die-hard and I still bristle when I see JPEG instead of JPG mainly because it catches me off guard.

Another piece of trivia, one of the first jpgs, Lena.jpg – was the standard test image used in almost every academic article on image compression written since 1974 (for example see: http://www.cs.utah.edu/~croberts/courses/cs7966/project3/)

This scan became one of the most used images in computer history.

This scan became one of the most used images in computer history.

It is a picture of Lena Söderberg cropped from the centerfold of the November 1972 issue of Playboy magazine. Apparently the only source of images they had lying around the lab.

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