A visualization created for The Ration using Protovis/JavaScript, HTML and CSS, with research from Cassie Werber. It's been designed as both a standalone piece and as an accompaniment to Berried Alive, Cassie's investigative feature on superfruits.

Curious about the history of superfruits and inspired by David McCandless's work with Google search data, I plugged "acai" into Google Trends. There was definitely a story in the data—search popularity for the term had gone up 91% from January 2004 to the end of 2009. I was really interested in seeing charts on Google search popularity for different superfruits annotated with explanations of why search popularity may have peaked and fallen at different times. (For example, did the acai berry's overnight explosion in popularity coincide with, say, a mention on Oprah?) I enlisted Cassie's help, and together we shaped the piece.

Due to our tight deadline, we had to forgo animation, and there wasn't as much time as we would have liked to thoroughly research probable causes for rises and falls in fruit popularity; we'd also hoped to include a small graph with data on media mentions from Google News for each fruit, but had to skip this. Still, we were able to experiment with storytelling in the form of a "stepper" taking users through the data (an idea stolen from the New York Times), and figuring out how to incorporate a streamgraph into the piece was pretty exciting. We also did some user testing, and learnt a lot—the final visualization is a huge improvement from the early prototypes.

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View early sketches and mockups

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