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Six Niche Visualization Blogs

I don't have to link to infosthetics or flowingdata, you know those. But there are many others that are not as well known, but often contain really interesting work. They offer thoughtful criticism, discussions of the cognitive aspects of visualization, or designers' perspectives on visualization. Here is a list of six of them.

Zhicheng "Leo" Liu, Designing and Understanding Visual Sensemaking

Leo is a Ph.D. student at GeorgiaTech and a very versatile researcher. On his blog, he covers topics like cognition, model-building in visualization, storytelling, etc. He does not write very much (the last posting as of this writing is from six months ago), but what he writes is very interesting. I also like the fact that he experiments with different posting formats, like in his Replies to a fictitious skeptic.

Enrico Bertini, Fell In Love With Data

Enrico has been blogging for a while, though in a somewhat unpredictable manner. His new(ish) blog, Fell In Love With Data combines more academic discussions with topics that have broader appeal, like his 7 Classic Foundational Vis Papers You Might not Want to Publicly Confess you Don’t Know. His writing can be a bit chaotic, but he covers a lot of relevant topics, and provides a lot of links to further resources.

Connie Malamed, Understanding Graphics

Connie Malamed may not be a household name in visualization, but her book Visual Language for Designers is widely known and respected among designers. On her website/blog, she writes occasional postings that tend to be very thoughtful and interesting. In particular, her recent article on schematic faces and smileys is an interesting take on something we almost take for granted today.

Bryan Connor, The Why Axis

While a lot of designers' work is criticized in the usual visualization blogs, I have not seen much writing on visualization by designers. Bryan Connor's cleverly titled The Why Axis is a welcome exception. Connor writes thoughtful critiques of visualizations and infographics, and interestingly focuses a lot on interaction. "Interestingly," because most criticism I see is based on the static aspects of charts. His writing is top-notch, though he seems a bit overly careful not too step on people's toes at times.

Carla Casilli

Carla Casilli writes about media psychology, cognition, social media, and recently visualization. She recently wrote a very interesting eight-part series about information visualization as a new visual language: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 (not yet published). Casilli discusses cognitive aspects as well as semiotics, visual working memory, and a host of other issues. If you want to get an idea of the breadth of fields visualization touches, this is a great starting point.


Many of you may know xkcd's brilliant comics. But Randall Munroe, the guy behind those stick figures, also creates some of the most impressive visualizations. A few years ago, his Map of the Internet made waves for showing the entire IPv4 address space on a single chart. More recently, he created the most interesting and useful illustrations of radiation doses I have seen. He also did an interesting posting on the Mississippi floods a few days ago.

Munroe's "blag" is obviously not a visualization blog, and he doesn't post very often, much less interesting visualizations. But when he does, they are very, very good.

Posted by Robert Kosara on May 12, 2011.