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Illustration by Surasti Puri

From our president to our clothes to our books, this year showed that Dataviz has become an integral part of modern culture

There’s always something going on in the field of data visualization but until recently it was only something that people in the field noticed. To the outside world, beyond perhaps an occasional Amazing Map®, Tufte workshop or funny pie chart, these trends are invisible. Not so in 2019, where data visualization featured prominently in major news stories and key players in the field created work that didn’t just do well on Dataviz Twitter but all over.

2019 saw the United States President amend a data visualization product with a sharpie. That should have been enough to make 2019 special, but the year also saw the introduction of a data visualization-focused fashion line, a touching book that uses data visualization to express some of the anxieties and feelings we all struggle with, as well as the creation of the first holistic professional society focused on data visualization. …

TLDR: We all need more time.

In 2017 and 2018 I ran an exhaustive survey of the data visualization community to try to better understand the trends and issues that were most important to our community. With the founding of the Data Visualization Society, I thought it made sense for that survey to pass over to the DVS so that it could be better designed and its responses better handled by a real organization, rather than a single individual.

The 2019 edition of the survey ran from May to June and received over 1350 responses. …

Understanding how precision and accuracy are competing goals in data visualization

You think you’re reading an essay. You’re not. You’re moving through a funnel. This shouldn’t surprise you. You’ve been moving through funnels all day. This funnel is a pretty simple one. You ended up on Medium somehow, you got to this essay, you’ve read this far. Those are all steps on this funnel, it looks something like this:

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A typical funnel diagram. It shows the number of visitors at each step with fewer and fewer visitors making it to the next step, thereby taking the shape of a funnel.

Funnels are interesting not only from the perspective of data visualization but also because they’re an important metaphor used to optimize your experience online. As a result, there are different ways that data visualization has been used to view funnels. Most of the time we use a bar chart like the one above. …


Elijah Meeks

Data Viz at Apple. Formerly Netflix, Stanford. Created Semiotic. Wrote D3.js in Action. Executive Director of the Data Visualization Society.

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