What the judges said: “Impressive variety and well executed — big visuals, layered smartly with maps, charts, along with well-executed and high-utility product design. Excellent photo editing throughout that meets the high expectation of full-screen. This checks a lot of boxes when it comes to immersive storytelling. The audio experience of the whales story is incredibly emotional and mesmerizing and invites you to focus on what you’re hearing without being fussy.”
What the judges said: “Everything is customized and contextualized to you. Imagine trying to plan and execute this, the idea is overwhelming. Contextual articles are something we haven’t seen done this well, the whole way through. It pushes the medium..”
What the judges said: “It challenges the assumption that we should represent this type of information with charts. We relate to what we eat, not to the numbers. Someone has thought this relationship through. The video executions are so well done, the use of zoom for the big reveal. The reader doesn’t know what’s coming next, and can’t wait to see and be surprised.”
What the judges said: “Extremely complicated to script and execute. It’s easy to downplay the difficulty because it looks so seamless and well-done. This pushes the state of drill-down aggregate charts. It moves you around in a smart, calculated way, taking you on a narrative through trendlines.”
What the judges said: “The transitions are useful in moving you from moment to moment – and they’re super-fast. For how complex the technical approach is, the speed component is impressive – we should all put a priority on speed. Each transition makes one big point, shows one big number. It’s focused and successful all the way through.”
What the judges said: “There is something powerful about the faceless nature of the visualization, it eliminates assumptions you might have based on race, style, other attributes. It’s generalized to point of just being a human being, that is what gives it power. The simple editing, the placement and pacing. It’s a shining example of how you can tell stories different, how you can create an emotional relationship with a database.”
What the judges said: “This tells a very important story, and it does so with inventiveness. We often don’t allow ourselves to take chances with important stories. Putting the data into a new narrative structure, and incorporating the narrative into the graphic itself instead of running it adjacent, it makes people care. This is how you create emotion through data visualization. This presentation was used as a precursor to the story going live; it’s a great example of how to deploy resources as a warm-up act.”
What the judges said: “This is a classic example of “show, don’t tell.” It takes a tough topic and helps the reader understand it in a surprising, memorable way. Your phone almost becomes the chart. Normally we don’t like the idea of scroll-jacking (hijacking the behavior of the scroll), but this project wouldn’t work without it. There’s a simplicity and ambient nature of the lightly moving water, it shows restraint. Subtle but engaging.”
SND.org editor Courtney Kan shares what she learned about the Best of Digital Design competition.
What the judges said: “Clean and controlled. You have the opportunity to play with it; if you’re REALLY interested, there’s enough there to spend on each component. Works as a quick pass and a deep dive. The videos are exceptional. The planet cartography and topographic rendering is so impressive.”
What the judges said: “I love the art design and the variety of the language and visuals. It’s very accessible. The images work very well with it. The package was a sophisticated, simple — nothing was overwhelming. Everything makes you want to explore the next piece. Seamless. Remarkable. Things you want to know. The exercise in restraint argues for its ability to stretch the medium.”
What the judges said: “”I was pissed off that I didn’t think of it myself. It takes a tool that we are all familiar with and uses it in a different way. Simplifies a complex subject. One of the most creative uses of D3. It’s already influenced other projects that have been created since.”
What the judges said: “Remarkable, fluid. You have a lot of data but also feel like you’re being put in the place. It is a show-stopper, such a good use of these new devices for design. The technology felt very appropriate for it. It’s very technical but it didn’t feel gratuitous. The art direction is the thing that makes it really impressive. It hits all the compelling points. They’ve used all the elements of this sort of new technology perfectly.”
What the judges said: “Incredible story, the pieces are great. The style of the graphics is very strong, emotional. The tone of the illustrators helped to truly feel the story. The little design touches kept the reader scrolling and made it continuously interesting. There was a very interesting feel where it went form day to night with the black and white. It’s a story that a reader will want to come back to. The appeal to the emotion is a convincing reason to give it a Silver.”
With the SND Best of Digital Design Competition under way, the judges share their thoughts on what they’re looking for, or advice they’d offer to those looking to raise the bar on digital presentation.
What the judges said: “It’s a great example of distilling information to a level of clarity without dumbing it down. There’s a variety of ways information is broken down, ability to filter to an impressive level of detail, and smart use of color to further the storytelling.”