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Design Brings Big Data To Life

At the newly relaunched Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum, Factual CEO Gil Elbaz and four other guests shared big data industry trends, tactics and insights. Dr. George Djorgovski, Caltech’s Professor of Astronomy gave a talk on the role images play in helping humans understand data.

Effective visualization
Dr. George Djorgovski, recognizes the impact of visualization in conveying big data insights.

Specifically, Professor Djorgovski discussed the benefits the Jet Propulsion Laboratory derived from virtual reality simulations of lunarscape when training astronauts for missions to Mars and beyond. According to Professor Djorgovski, JPL studies have shown that astronauts using well designed visual cues performed four times better than those who were just given the data.

Kluge recently re-designed and launched the Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum’s website

At Kluge we come across this phenomena in nearly every project we manage, including the redesign of Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum’s website. One of Kluge’s more successful examples of intuitively connecting a client’s data with its users was an infographic we built for Telesign. The mobile security company sponsored the Ponemon Institute to conduct and publish an independent survey of professionals who manage user accounts. Ponemon reached out to 27,215 businesses and received qualified responses from 998 of them. This represented on average  $117 million worth of user data per respondent.

Ponemon report
Kluge was tasked with turning Ponemon’s 30 page survey into an infographic.

At the core of the Ponemon survey was an examination of the challenge fake accounts present to businesses. Fake user accounts can threaten a company’s security, compromise good users, are costly to clean up and detrimentally impact a company’s valuation. While a robust and growing number of users is great for business, if a quarter of those users are fake, those bad accounts are going to impact a company’s reputation and destabilize its operations. It is far better for a business to ward off bad actors at sign-up with technologies that Telesign provides, than trying to eradicate them after they have registered.

The central character needed to be easily understood and grab the reader's attention.
The central character needed to be easily understood and immediately grab the reader’s attention.

Ponemon’s research is thorough and extensive and comprises thirty pages of text and bar charts. Telesign was concerned that while the information it contained was of vital interest for anyone who has to maintain a user database, few people would take the time to wade through all thirty pages. Telesign wanted the information to jump off the page and tasked Kluge with creating an infographic that made the data digestible and engaging.

Images must look good and move the story along
Images must look good and move the story along

To visualize how a company’s user base can be compromised we set about personifying the “bad actor”. This figure was the most challenging element of the entire story. Recognizing that many of the bad user accounts are created by bots we borrowed a page from Space Odyssey and created a Hal like character that comprised a sinister red glowing orb. Telesign’s SVP of Marketing found the design a little too abstract. He was looking for something more human and instantly recognizable. Our senior illustrator, Daniel Sabal, proposed a dozen concepts that were quickly whittled down to a dark shady character with sinister, Hal-like red eyes and fast moving fingers. In the infographic the “bad actor” first appears as a simple pair of innocent hands dancing above a keyboard. It is not until the user scrolls down the page that the bad actor penetrates an app on a mobile phone do we find that the pair of hands are controlled by a malicious villain up to no good.

Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 11.57.56 AM
The bad actor Kluge created had eye’s inspired by Hal from Space Odyssey

A lot of design considerations were given to the journey the user is taken on as they continue to scroll down the page and watch the bad actor go to work. This fluid movement of visuals, data call-outs and gifs required tremendous work from Daniel Garcia’s development team. They had to work extra hard to ensure all the interactions came together in a coordinated fashion that allowed the user to digest the information, and seamlessly transition through the entire story.

Final scene
A well told story provides meaning for anyone who comes across it.

Originally designed for Telesigns resource page, the infographic was such a success the company chose to showcase the work on their homepage, where it still resides today. Remarking on the successful impact of the infographic Laura Apel, Telesign’s Content Marketing Director said, “We weren’t quite sure where we were heading when we set out to transform Ponemon’s report into an infographic. Having worked with Kluge for more than two years we trusted their process, knowledge of our business and ability to lock in on an idea once it began to resonate. We had a very tight deadline for the launch and everybody on the team worked very closely together to pull it off. It wasn’t an easy task to take a large amount of data, tell a compelling story, and find a way to showcase and explain your company’s technological solution along the way.  I’m thrilled with the way it turned out.”

If you are interested in creating an infographic for your company, please contact us: hello@klugeinteractive.com