Remember When There Were No Interactive Graphics?

You may recall that about a year ago we ran a post here titled, “Remember When There Were No “TIPS” Jars?”  It was a pretty terrible piece and I forgot about it almost as soon as I published it.  Well, about a month ago I received an email from someone who had prepared an interactive graphic on tipping for an organization known as the Hospitality Management Schools.  She had come across the tipping post, and wondered if I could take a look at the interactive graphic on tipping, and see if perhaps it would be of use to my readers.

My first thought was that I was not sure if anything posted here is of use to my readers.  But after a month of procrastination, two follow up emails, and a very bad dream in which I found myself inside an interactive graphic that showed my recurring dreams by subject in high school, I finally checked out the tipping site.  And if you check it out, I think you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: the graphic is much more valuable than the static text you find here.

What did we do before we had these nifty interactive graphics?  We had to imagine the characters and figures moving.  Back during the oil embargo of the early 1970s, people had to imagine the reduction in the production of oil and the corresponding increase in gas prices and pants bottoms.  Back during the Plague, people had to imagine the increase in rainfall and corresponding graphic of corpses piled atop a wooden cart being pushed by Eric Idle, yelling, “Bring out yer dead!”  Back during the Roman Empire, the emperors would have had to imagine a little arrow along a timeline that could be pushed with a corresponding red splotch growing all around the Mediterranean Sea.

I wish there had been an interactive graphics website when I was taking chemistry.  There would have been a red stick figure for the acid and a blue stick figure for the base, and they would join hands and become salt and water and a polypropylene bottle to hold the water.

An interactive graphic would have become really handy when we were reading Hamlet in English class.  The landing page would have stick figures of all the main characters—Hamlet, Ophelia, the joking friend who always comes in through the kitchen door—and clicking on each one would start an animation of their gruesome death without the effort of parsing through the lines of “What ho, Sirrah?” and “S’blood” and “Methinks this play hath much movie logik.”

If you search for interactive graphics, you are likely to find graphics on topics in economics or history or something else that isn’t going to make you the life of any party on this planet.  What they need are more interactive graphics about the practical side of life.  Like an interactive graphic on mowing the lawn.  There would be buttons showing different sizes of lawn, and a corresponding meter showing the day in the week in which the mower of the household would start being asked if he was going to mow the lawn that weekend.

Or an interactive graphic showing the Nielsen rating of Keeping Up With the Kardashians on the X-axis, and the number of people who can place the Civil War in the correct half-century on the Y-axis.  Or demonstrating how to politely take a seat in the middle of row at a crowded movie that has already started.  Or on how to keep an open syrup bottle from making all the adjacent containers sticky.

But I guess tipping is as important a practical activity as there can be.  Few things in life cause me more stress than how much to tip the various folks who through conscious effort make my life more pleasant.  The interactive graphic dispelled every question I could ever have.  In fact, I was so engrossed in the educational animation that I forgot to go out to a restaurant, get a pedicure, or have a café au lait sculpted by my town’s most celebrated barista.

5 thoughts on “Remember When There Were No Interactive Graphics?

  1. Hi Mark,
    I am one of those lucky people who knew and loved your Aunt Helen. We worked together in the same schools for over thirty years. Helen retired a year or two before me. Your writing style is wonderful and your descriptioon of Helen is right on perfect. Her heart was as big as her intellect and her bravery absolute. I am so glad she was in my life, and that she considered me her friend. Thank you for writing this.
    Helen’s friend, Anne Dragos

    1. Thank you, Anne. I love hearing about how she touched other people’s lives. It is always gratifying to hear from people who knew her for many years in a setting different than I knew her, and that they describe her the exact same way that I would describe her. I’m glad you appreciated the post, and that it brought back warm memories of my Aunt Helen. Mark

    1. People get paid for links? I didn’t think of that at all. I kept getting emails asking if I had checked out the site, and I had started to feel guilty about not checking it out. So I checked it out and then I thought, “Oh, wouldn’t this make a great blog post?” See? The reasons for the link were entirely selfish. But I guess I should have demanded some money. At least a tip.

      1. But if you demanded a tip, you would have had to leave an interactive graphic to go with it. (And if you leave an interactive graphic to go with it…)

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