NY Times Senior Multimedia Producer Gabriel Dance on the Interactive Graphic
New York Times senior multimedia producer Gabriel Dance and the team of journalist and designers with whom he works have created some of the most innovative interactive graphics on the web.
Yet for all the apparent complexity of award-winning projects like The Word Train and The Documents of Aribert Heim his core philosophy of design is simple: Get out of the way of the content and create interactive graphics designed to keep viewers engaged.
Simple usability is key. For example, it wasn’t until he put the big buttons on the top right that people seemed to use Milestones: Barack Obama, a time-line of the President’s life, in significant numbers. The time-line itself was too complex to draw people in on its own. It needed a simple point-of-entry for viewers to engage, he said.
During an October 8, 2009, presentation at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, arranged by associate professor Sandeep Junnarkar, Dance talked about his own career trajectory and shared some tips and tricks he’s learned while working at the Times.
His presentation has been edited into thirteen segments, each with individual topics ranging from the need to provide context for viewers around an interactive graphic to the importance of functionality, innovation and the increasing importance of user-generated content. Below are three of the most informative. The entire collection can be viewed here.