We've noted before that The New York Times is basically the New York Yankees of infographics and interactive design—with more money, more talent, and more resources than any other news outlet in the world. And unlike the New York Yankees, that talent hasn't been sitting around for ten years, doing nothing but getting paid. No, the Times interactive team has been creating path-breaking experiments in infographics and interaction design. All of which are now collected in its terrific new Innovation Portfolio.
The pieces called out on the site—each of which is represented by a bubble—range from infographics of public sentiment ("What on word describes your mood") to ultra-polished interactive features, which elegantly summarize massive feature stories.
It's an amazing resource, having all these projects collected in one place. But the site wasn't just created as a bit of self-congratulatory eye candy.
Rather, it was made to help sell advertisers on the interactive content—and show them all the tantalizing advertising opportunities they offer.
In so doing, it basically reveals what The New York Times's ulterior motive, in producing all those infographics and features: They're trying to increase the time spent on their site; by increasing that, they're trying to demand premium pricing for their ads: As they write, "How much time is your audience spending with our stories? With your brand?"
Perhaps it was obvious all along, but did you ever think that the killer app of interaction design might not be simply more-efficient information sharing—-but rather, a better way to sell ads?