Public data

Picture of Sophia Petrillo's frowning face from The Golden Girls.
Picture it! Mountain View, 2009
Web 2.0 is still pretty new, but animation, interactivity, and more data are coming to even the previously static Google Search UI.

An incredible resource of public data, made accessible through Google Search.

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Maybe you’ve seen the famous Ted talk. I had the singular opportunity to work with the amazing team behind those stats, whose technology, know-how, and drive to serve the public good I found at Google. What was originally Gapminder was, among other things, turned into a project to bring public statistical data to Search.

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A little ahead of its time, this project was more or less the first time that data—answers to questions like What’s the population of California? was provided directly, in the form of a visualization (and with comparisons), directly in search results. The subsequent experience included a deep exploration UI, lead-designed by Anna Rosling Rönnlund, to which I had the opportunity to contribute.

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I was the search designer for the project. While they worked on getting more data, and building a more robust technology, I helped the team design the experience that would face the world through Google Search, including search results, landing pages, and parts of the exploration UI. I was able to assistant-shepherd the project through the sometimes arduous process of becoming part of Search. I also worked on techniques for dealing with heterogeneous and difficult-to-visualize data, filtering and exploration UIs, and interfaces for authors of statistical data.

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