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
Wayne Lytle created this video about the Viz-O-Matic that provides lots of tools to make visualization glitzier. It’s a nice little spoof, and a throwback to the computer graphics of the early 1990s (it was made for SIGGRAPH 1993). This video was brought up in a discussion about storytelling at CHI last week, though I don’t think that its lessons are very deep on that subject.
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
Lena Groeger (of ProPublica) has written a beautiful piece about the Power of Wee Things. She talks about using small things, multiples, and units to display data and get people interested. The article goes through many, many examples covering many different areas and ideas. She also gave a great talk on the topic at OpenVis 2014.
On a somewhat related note, Jake Harris wrote about the importance of individual items in data journalism and visualization, and how to connect with them. The two pieces work very well together to illustrate a way of visualizing data that is often overlooked.
Unit charts are not common in visualization, and they are often considered a bad idea. The same is true for using shapes other than rectangles. Neither is based on much actual research, however. In a new paper, we look at the specific example of ISOTYPE-style charts – and find them to be quite effective.
Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg have written a wonderful piece titled Design and Redesign in Data Visualization about criticism in data visualization. They thoughtfully analyze the practice and point out some of the issues when people create redesigns, including intellectual honesty and perfect hindsight.
They then go on to define some “rules of engagement” for a more reasonable approach to redesign. They argue for a kinder, more respectful, and more balanced process. Their ideas are informed by the critique in design and certainly make a lot of sense for visualization. Continue reading Link: Design and Redesign in Data Visualization
Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec are collaborating on a clever and beautiful new project they call Dear Data (Twitter account). Every week, they are sending post cards to each other with hand-drawn visualizations of data they have gathered: public transportation, ways they communicate, etc.
Scott Klein of ProPublica has written a great story about an early use of data in journalism, and Horace Greeley, the colorful journalist behind it. Greeley found an issue and then gathered the data to show the extent of the problem. This is not unlike today.
In Greeley’s case, the issue was how much money members of Congress were paid for their travels to their home states, despite modern conveniences like railroads that made those journeys much faster than they had been in the past.
The story is very well written and represents an important piece of history and context for today’s practice of data journalism.
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
I’ve written a short piece about the Tapestry conference for the Graphically Speaking column in Computer Graphics and Applications. The article talks about the reasoning behind Tapestry, how it’s different from academic conferences, and gives a few examples of talks. It even includes anecdotal evidence to show that the conference has enabled actual knowledge transfer. Continue reading Link: CG&A Article on Tapestry