Datum Ipsum: Designing real-time visualizations with realistic placeholder data

Matthew Ström
Jul 27, 2016 · 9 min read


Real data is hard to understand.

Real data isn’t intuitive

Real data is hard to fake

Real data is unpredictable

Why not design with real data?

Let’s use placeholder data instead.

What does placeholder data look like?

A graph of javascript’s Math.random() function
A 2-dimensional graph of the Perlin Noise function

Perlin Noise (or, a better kind of random)

The development of Perlin Noise has allowed computer graphics artists to better represent the complexity of natural phenomena in visual effects for the motion picture industry.

Putting Perlin Noise Into Practice

Note: for the sake of example, I’ve pulled headlines from The Daily Beast. All of the data is 100% fake.

Mission Log

Explorations of product strategy, design, and development. Visit us at planetary.co!

Thanks to Azy Groth.

Matthew Ström

Written by

Design Lead at Bitly. https://matthewstrom.com

Mission Log

Explorations of product strategy, design, and development. Visit us at planetary.co!