Talk to _people_ about your data

I need your help. I want to ask my wife if she'd like to go see a movie with me. Which way do you think I should go: Option 1:

"Interested in catching the 7PM showing of Hunger Games at the AMC?"

Option 2:

Time: 7PM

Movie: Hunger Games

Location: AMC


Well, we both know the answer: she might be inclined to take me up on my offer either way, but with the second option, she might also be inclined to make me sit on a different row.

We know that when we talk to people, we have to do so in a way that feels warm and personal. Why is it then, that when we design systems for people, we want to woo them with option 2?

Imagine a sales report where you select a date range, the type of transaction you are interested in and the resulting metrics. It might look something like this:

Start date: 1/15/2012

End date: 4/2/2012

Type of transaction: Closed deals

Revenue: $1,500,000.

Number of deals: 6

On the other hand, why don't we treat these sort of data interactions more personable; more like a conversation? Take that same report and re-imagine it in the metaphor of a sentence. Something perhaps like this:

Between 1/15/2012 and today, there have been 6 deals that closed, totaling $1.5m in revenue.

Nifty? We think so. To see some examples and learn more, check out this latest addition to our design principles library.

Here's to treating people like... well, um... people!