Have you ever wondered why data visualization matters? Do you prefer to look simply at numbers in a spreadsheet, or would you rather seen an image of that data?
Many people learn better visually. We all have to crawl through a great deal of data each and every day as well as process the meaning of all of this information. So, why bother with data visualization at all?
To understand that, it helps to understand the principles we strive for in data journalism. At The New York Times, we strongly believe that visualization is reporting, with many of the same elements that would make a traditional story effective: a narrative that pares away extraneous information to find a story in the data; context to help the reader understand the basics of the subject; interviewing the data to find its flaws and be sure of our conclusions. Prettiness is a bonus; if it obliterates the ability to read the story of the visualization, it’s not worth adding some wild new visualization style or strange interface. (From: http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/10/word-clouds-considered-harmful/.)
Column Five on Vimeo also provides a brief overview on The Value of Data Visualization below.
What do you think are the key concepts for a clear visualization of data? What do you consider a bad info graphic? Do you have a favorite infographic? (This could be a favorite because it is excellent, or a favorite because it is so awesomely bad.)
Have you ever visited a web site and wondered who created such a great experience? Have you ever wondered who makes the invisible visible?
No? Why do you think that is? If it works well, you don’t notice it, and if the site is a mess, it is all you do notice.
Therefore, what element can help make or break a web site?
To me, one of these elements is the site’s User Experience Design, or lack thereof.
The following humorous animations by Lyle hail the role of the user experience designer. I bow….
Do you have any favorite web sites? Why do you like them?
[Via frank j. garofalo.]
I would like to thank the readers of this blog for your time and comments.
This month, TamingData received almost 4,000 “page impressions“. That is an almost 189% increase over February 2011 (if I did that math correctly). Yes, I went from slightly under 2,000 page impressions in February to over 3,800 page impressions in March! I realize for some sites that may not seem like much, but for my blog, those are some nice numbers. I began this blog ~16 months ago, in December 2009.
How many page impressions did I have in March 2010? 141. I’ve had a >95% increase in readership over the past 12 months.
I am humbled that even one person wants to read what I have to write, much less thousands per month. The video below by Tim Morales, called, “Gratitude“, is my way of saying, “Thank you” to every one of you.
I hope you have a wonderful April.
A large part of life and research involves figuring out what questions to ask. Still, how do you know what questions to ask? How do you know when to keep exploring vs. accepting that what you’ve found so far is “good enough”?
I have no idea.
And neither, apparently, does this guy, whose failure to “get it” clearly causes himself harm.
“If you do not ask the right questions, you do not get the right answers. A question asked in the right way often points to its own answer. Asking questions is the A-B-C of diagnosis. Only the inquiring mind solves problems.” ~Edward Hodnett
Have you had any clueless discoveries you’d like to share?
[Via the SPARC eNews March 2011. See also, Aaron Ludwig, a.k.a., "the Rabid Milkman".]
This post is for those of you who are interested in Linked Open Data.
The following is from an announcement sent out via email by Diane Goldenberg-Hart of CNI on 7 February 2011.
A new video from CNI’s 2010 fall membership meeting is now available from CNI’s video channels on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/cnivideo) and Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/channels/cni). Linked Open Data: The Promises and the Pitfalls… Where Are We and Why Isn’t There Broader Adoption? features case studies by speakers from Cornell University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Internet Archive, as well as a summary presentation by MIT’s MacKenzie Smith.
Presentation slides and handouts from this session are accessible from the project briefing page at http://www.cni.org/tfms/2010b.fall/Abstracts/PB-linked-negulescu.html.
Why do you think Linked Open Data hasn’t been more broadly adopted? What do you think are the promises and pitfalls?
I would like to thank the readers of this blog for their time and attention. I’m amazed every day at how many people want to read my scribblings.
In honor of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, for your amusement I present, “Asteroids – A Love Story” from Nigel Upchurch. The song accompanying the video is a version of ‘No Time‘ by Juan MacLean.
If this love story inspires you to play the original asteroids game, try the online version, below. The embed code for this online version is available via Neave Games.
I hope you have a wonderful February.
How would you display statistical data about the earth and its population of humans, flora, and species? What about diseases, deaths from war, births, deaths, marriages, divorce and abortions? Drownings, poisonings, and fires? Oil, cars, and bicycles? And if you want to display this data all at once and show how it changes over time, how would you show all of this data as changing information?
How about making a display that uses 3 colors, is bare and simple, and set to Bruckner’s 7th Symphony? Andreas Templin did just that with this very uncomplicated (to view) display of 2010 statistical data.
Have you ever wondered how many airplanes are in the air at one time? How about over a 24 hour period? Can you visualize this data? If so, how?
A group of students at ZHAW in Europe took on the challenge. Pierre-Alain Goualch posted this video of one way to display this data, which is this animation of all air traffic worldwide over a 24 hour period***.
I would like to wish each and every one of you a safe and Happy Halloween. Thank you for reading this blog. As part of my “thank you”, I’ve included Greg Fellin’s video “Happy Halloween“, which features “The Monster Mash” song. I’ve also added an infographic with some interesting facts about Halloween. (You can find the sources of the Halloween facts listed at the bottom of the infographic.)
For a larger image of the infographic, please click on the image. This will take you to a new page; click on the small image of the infographic again to view the very large image.
[Halloween infographic via: HalloweenExpress.]