Scrollytelling is a common way of interacting with stories these days. Scroll down and the story unfolds! Except it’s often awkward, brittle, and gets in the way. Continue reading The Scrollytelling Scourge
Our mental model of a dataset changes the way we ask questions. One aspect of that is the shape of the data (long or wide); an equally important issue is whether we think of the data as a collection of rows of numbers that we can aggregate bottom-up, or as a complete dataset that we can slice top-down to ask questions. Continue reading Row-Level Thinking vs. Cube Thinking
The OpenVis Conference had another great selection of talks this year. Here is a list of my favorites, with talk videos and pointers to some additional materials.
The 6th edition of Designing the User Interface just came out. This is one of the central books in HCI. This edition is also notable because it adds a lot of fresh blood to the list of authors. Continue reading New Edition of Designing the User Interface
We’ve turned the understanding of charts into formulas instead of encouraging people to think and ask questions. That doesn’t produce better charts, it just gives people ways of feeling superior by parroting something about chart junk or 3D being bad. There is little to no research to back these things up. Continue reading 3D Bar Charts Considered Not That Harmful
I have started a new blog, which I call shift register. It’s about electronics projects I’m doing, mostly building circuits on breadboards and playing with Arduinos.
The shape of a dataset is hugely important to how well it can be handled by different software. The shape defines how it is laid out: wide as in a spreadsheet, or long as in a database table. Each has its use, but it’s important to understand their differences and when each is the right choice. Continue reading Spreadsheet Thinking vs. Database Thinking
Personified user interfaces, like chat bots or agents, are the new thing once again. But despite advances in artificial intelligence, they still have many issues and drawbacks compared to direct-manipulation interfaces. There was a debate around these interfaces in the 1990s, and it seems to be bound to repeat itself. Continue reading The Personified User Interface Trap
The history of data journalism goes back much farther than most people assume. Long before computers or punch cards, and before even the first newspapers the way we know them today, data was being published. ProPublica’s Scott Klein has been digging up a lot of interesting history. Continue reading Links: Scott Klein on the History of Data Journalism