The U.S. Department of Education just released an amazing dataset about the costs of going to college, earnings potential, etc. They’re doing so many things right, it’s really great. But what is still lacking is the metadata, making analysis harder than it needs to be. Continue reading Why Is Metadata So Hard?
When creating charts, it’s important to pick the one that actually fits not just the data, but the task. That can require going outside your comfort zone to use something beyond the four or five most common chart types. Here is an example where the original chart does not support comparison between two different sets of numbers, but it’s easy to fix. Continue reading The Point Of A Chart
I attended EuroVis 2015 last week in Cagliari, Sardinia. This is the second-most important conference in the academic visualization world, and there were plenty of good sessions to choose from (full and short papers, state-of-the-art reports, and industry sessions). Continue reading Report: EuroVis 2015
Feedback loops are a common concept in engineering. When it comes to giving talks, academics would do well to apply some of the thinking behind them to improve their output by observing how it deviates from the desired one, and making changes to adjust it. Continue reading Feedback Loops for Better Talks
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the CHI 2015 conference in Seoul, South Korea. CHI technically stands for Computer-Human Interaction, but it has become a name rather than an acronym in recent years. And CHI’s scope is very broad, it covers many areas that are not strictly part of HCI (Human-Computer Interaction – why use one acronym when you can have two?). Continue reading Conference Report: CHI 2015
In watches, a complication is anything that goes beyond the basic function of showing the current time: alarm time, moon phase, etc. I think the term should be adopted in user interface design and visualization. Continue reading Complications
Showing data isn’t always about trying to convey an insight, or giving people the means to understand the intricacies of data. It can also be a tool to communicate a fact, an amount, or an issue beyond just the sheer numbers. Data illustration is poorly understood, but it can be very powerful. Continue reading The Value of Illustrating Numbers
When visualizing data, we often strive for efficiency: show the data, nothing else. But there can be tremendous value in redundancy to make a point and drive it home. Two recent examples from news graphics illustrate this nicely. Continue reading Spelling Things Out
The tools of the trade for academics and others who write research papers are among the worst software has to offer. Whether it’s writing or citation management, there are countless issues and annoyances. How is it possible that this fairly straightforward category of software is so outdated and awful? Continue reading Why Is Paper-Writing Software So Awful?