It’s 2017 and the World Is Still Googling How to Do the Most Basic Things

Our dads taught us nothing

September 6, 2017 9:00 am

We have a proposal: Xaquín G.V. should consider writing educational e-textbooks. Because the graphic designer and journalist has a brilliant knack for explaining information using a combination of copy, illustrations and sometimes  animations that truly illuminate a lot of interesting data about what it means to be a human in the 21st century.

His latest creation, How To Fix a Toilet, is a website done in partnership with Google News Lab that shows our (the world’s) most popular How To searches, letting you toggle to see how other countries and backgrounds stack up — fixing a toilet is popular in the U.S., but fixing a refrigerator is of more importance in South Africa.

When it comes to searches about cooking, most folks ask Google how to make pancakes; about love, people mostly ask Google how to kiss and get pregnant (ah, adolescence); about fashion, most folks ask Google how to tie a tie.

There is a conspicuous lack of data about technology and sex, which ties back into the artist’s entire point of this project, which is, in his own words: “to highlight how much we depend on search to know ‘how to do’ everyday things: those that existed before the internet, those we would actually ask our parents, family, or friends.”

If you dig this site, check out Xaquín’s story on the connection between gestures and music or his graph of Goldilocks Worlds or his exceptionally designed (and lauded) NYT article on avalanches, Snow Fall.

It’s worth noting that Xaquín has good sense of humor (see the main image), and that’s the sugar that helps the medicine go down. 

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