Animated Infographic Using BLS Data: the Volunteers

Do you volunteer? Do you want to volunteer? If you do, do you prefer education and youth services, the environment and animal care, hospital or other health care, or another kind of volunteering?

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOOD collaborated with Design Language to create this animated infographic of volunteers in the United States. The animation is by Dorian Orange.

The team has this to say about their project, and the people who made the data possible:

In these still-tough economic times, it can be hard to find ways to give back. But new data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that people across the country are still taking the time to volunteer in their communities. This is a look at some of that data, showing who volunteered in 2009 and what kind of work they’re doing. A tip of the hat to everyone who finds the time to do some good.

Each image of a person represents 100,000 volunteers. First, I’ll show the animation, and then I’ll show the infographic.

I found the animation to be pretty, but hard to read due to the font colors, especially once the images started turning and moving in one direction or another. Fortunately, the collaborators on the animation also created an infographic that is fairly easy to read and provides the user with access to details the animation cannot show.

Animated Infographic: the Volunteers

(An interactive (flash) version of the infographic is available here.)

Animations? Infographics? This is all nice and pretty, but what do the animations and infographics you’ve been posting recently have to do with taming the data overload?

Well, they are methods for taking a large amount of data and making it palatable for the average person to view. They are more entertaining to read and look at than a spreadsheet. Even for someone like me, who geeks on (managing) data, I’d rather look at a few nice graphics (note the use of the word, “nice”) than a spreadsheet of data.

What would you change or keep in the animation and infographic above? What approach would you have taken with this data?

Please let me know what you think....