What good design can tell us about the weather

Screen grab of NYT interactive graphic plotting the path of Hurricane Sandy

Don't need a weatherman

It’s raining, it’s pouring and if we’re not obsessively charging our phones and tablets and other electronic devices, we’re listening to the radio, watching the Weather Channel and communicating on every platform we can about Hurricane Sandy (#Sandy).

Emergencies make news junkies of us all and it’s in an emergency that we search for information that’s timely, actionable and most of all, accessible. And that’s where good design comes in. A well-designed graphic, video or timeline is worth a thousand words in telling you what you need to know and do next.

Here are three examples of well-designed crisis communications:

NYT interactive graphic: Type in a location and get the latest updates on wind speed, rain and forecast for your area. Clean, intuitive and—dare I say it—fun.

WaPo Grid: Tweets, instagram photos, news updates, web videos in real time.

University of New Haven home page: A shout-out to my son’s school, which features clear, reassuring and highly visible information to students, parents, faculty/staff (all the while remaining faithful to brand guidelines!).

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