Is the Nasdaq in Another Bubble?
Organisation: The Wall Street Journal (United States)
Publication Date: 04/06/2016
Size of team/newsroom:large
DescriptionThe Wall Street Journal is proud to nominate "Is the Nasdaq in Another Bubble?" as data visualization of the year. This first-of-its-kind virtual reality tour of market data was a groundbreaking new type of visualization, allowing readers to literally ride the Nasdaq stock exchange through 21 years of growth and tumult. The “roller-coaster” conceit paired well with the Nasdaq data as it rose through the dotcom boom of the late 1990s and then busted. The slow recovery over the next 20 years culminated when it surpassed its previous peak, which is when the project published. This is one of the first forays into three-dimensional data visualization ever published by a news publication. While the data visualization is unique and exciting, its use was still in service of the story. The visceral sense of height helps readers understand the precarious nature of the dotcom boom, and the plummet thereafter allows them to experience a sense of fear and uncertainty. How many data visualizations can claim that? The project went viral on social media. Videos emerged of readers playing with the content in delight (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmv5Tykhwk0). The project was the tentpole piece of an award-winning submission to the Online News Association for "Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling."
What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?Using bleeding-edge technology, this project uses true 3D to allow you to experience an immersive world populated with this data visualization. Readers can optionally attach their phone to a Google Cardboard or any other 3D viewing device for a completely immersive experience that tracks your head movements and provides slightly different images to each eye, simulating real 3D. Without an attachment, readers can still move their phones in 3D space to view the 360-degree world. On desktop, they can click and drag their mouse. For this interaction, The Journal needed to create new ways to interact in this space. Holding your gaze on a button triggers the action, allowing readers to bypass more complicated clicking interfaces. We also needed to uncover the best storytelling methods for this space. The first approach was more of an exploratory "open world" approach. Then we discovered a guided tour that limited the options allowed the viewer to focus on the story.
Technologies used for this project:The project was built using three.js — a relatively new library that allows programmers to render three-dimensional content in the browser programatically. The data visualization itself was powered by D3.js, which was fed into the 3D environment.
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