In the age of information overload, it can be hard for companies to keep track of every bit of news, social media, and online dialogue relevant to their brands. Even more difficult is synthesizing this barrage of information into meaningful insights, patterns, and trends.
TrendViz aims to make this process easier. This data visualization tool, created by Netherlandish design agency Clever°Franke in collaboration with data analysis company Ai-Applied, offers a bird's-eye view of the online presence of any brand, organization, or market. It elegantly analyzes trends in the otherwise overwhelming world of big data.
"TrendViz started out as a project to scratch our own itch," Thomas Clever, designer at Clever°Franke, tells Co.Design. "We couldn’t find a tool or application that analyzed online news and our own social media accounts, and then filtered the content for us to display only relevant news."
Clever found that existing tools geared toward the purpose of highlighting or filtering news on a topic of interest required too much effort: you had to save a link, bookmark an article, or favorite a tweet. Unlike, say, a Google Alert that simply lists all individual mentions of a given topic, the data here is collected via user-chosen keywords and then the results are beautifully organized and interactively visualized, revealing patterns and connections in online news and social media messages. "With TrendViz, I wake up in the morning and know it has sorted news articles relevant to me personally," he says.
The visualization, a demo of which is available here, represents tracked companies as a series of circles. A larger circle means that company has received more media coverage of late, and clicking the circle reveals trending topics in relation to that company. The circle's color signifies the articles' tone of voice, signifying whether attitudes in media coverage have shifted towards negative (red circles) or positive (blue). The content can be also sorted by relevance, topic, and source, and companies and connections can be viewed in a horizontal or circular formation.
"TrendViz is first and foremost a way of getting a ‘feel’ of the news and social media," Clever says. "It presents quick, intuitive insights." While the main intended users for TrendViz are businesses and organizations that want to keep track of the news surrounding their company, Clever says the potential audience is broad and diverse. Media companies interested in tracking news items over a long period of time could use TrendViz as a kind of dossier tool for their journalists. "For example, we might follow all the news regarding Syria and visualize trends over time," Clever says. Even those who aren't in the business world might appreciate a design that makes the Internet's excess of information seem manageable.