Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
Monday, July 31st, 2017
A Weekly Journal of Visual Essays
Some lovely data visualisation here.
Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
In July we started receiving audio signals from outside the solar system, and we’ve been studying them since.
Tweets contain sound samples on Soundcloud, data visualisations, and notes about life at the observatory …all generated by code.
ARP is a fictional radio telescope observatory, it’s a Twitter & SoundCloud bot which procedurally generates audio, data-visualisations, and the tweets (and occasionally long-exposure photography) of an astronomer/research scientist who works at ARP, who is obsessive over the audio messages, and who runs the observatory’s Twitter account.
Sunday, June 4th, 2017
One of the topics I enjoy discussing at Indie Web Camps is how we can use design to display activity over time on personal websites. That’s how I ended up with sparklines on my site—it was the a direct result of a discussion at Indie Web Camp Nuremberg a year ago:
During the discussion at Indie Web Camp, we started looking at how silos design their profile pages to see what we could learn from them. Looking at my Twitter profile, my Instagram profile, my Untappd profile, or just about any other profile, it’s a mixture of bio and stream, with the addition of stats showing activity on the site—signs of life.
Perhaps the most interesting visual example of my activity over time is on my Github profile. Halfway down the page there’s a calendar heatmap that uses colour to indicate the amount of activity. What I find interesting is that it’s using two axes of time over a year: days of the month across the X axis and days of the week down the Y axis.
I wanted to try something similar, but showing activity by time of day down the Y axis. A month of activity feels like the right range to display, so I set about adding a calendar heatmap to monthly archives. I already had the data I needed—timestamps of posts. That’s what I was already using to display sparklines. I wrote some code to loop over those timestamps and organise them by day and by hour. Then I spit out a table with days for the columns and clumps of hours for the rows.
I’m using colour (well, different shades of grey) to indicate the relative amounts of activity, but I decided to use size as well. So it’s also a bubble chart.
It doesn’t work very elegantly on small screens: the table is clipped horizontally and can be swiped left and right. Ideally the visualisation itself would change to accommodate smaller screens.
Still, I kind of like the end result. Here’s last month’s activity on my site. Here’s the same time period ten years ago. I’ve also added month heatmaps to the monthly archives for my journal, links, and notes. They’re kind of like an expanded view of the sparklines that are shown with each month.
From one year ago, here’s the daily distribution of
And then here’s the the daily distribution of everything in that month all together.
I realise that the data being displayed is probably only of interest to me, but then, that’s one of the perks of having your own website—you can do whatever you feel like.
When I was in Düsseldorf for this year’s excellent Beyond Tellerrand conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Nadieh Bremer, data visualisation designer extraordinaire. I asked her a question which is probably the equivalent of asking a chef what their favourite food is: “what’s your favourite piece of data visualisation?”
There are plenty of popular answers to this question—the Minard map, Jon Snow’s cholera map—but we had just been chatting about Nadieh’s previous life in astronomy, so one answer popped immediately to mind: the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.
Thursday, April 27th, 2017
Fontlandia is yours to explore.
By leveraging AI and convolutional neural networks to draw higher-vision pattern recognition, we have created a tool that helps designers understand and see relationships across more than 750 web fonts.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
A gorgeous visualisation of satellites in Earth orbit. Click around to grasp the scale of the network.
Friday, January 6th, 2017
Watching this data visualisation on its high speed setting is quite hypnotic.
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
If you’re in need of some long-term perspective right now—because, let’s face it, the short-term outlook is looking pretty damn bleak—then why not explore some of Max Roser’s data visualisations? Have a look at some of the global trends in inequality, disease, hunger, and conflict.
Sunday, August 7th, 2016
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It feels like a user’s browser history is an incredibly rich seam of valuable information just waiting to be presented in a more interesting way.
Sunday, May 8th, 2016
Friday, April 22nd, 2016
This could be a handy replacement for some Google Charts images of graphs. It uses SVG and is responsive by default.
I bet it wouldn’t be too tricky to use this to make some sparklines.
Sunday, November 8th, 2015
Monday, October 12th, 2015
A nice navigable timeline of historical events from Wikipedia.
Sunday, August 23rd, 2015
What a lovely bit of progressive enhancement—styling data tables to display as charts.
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
This infographic offers a visual way to explore the various stages of the Earth’s history using a 12 hour clock analogy.
Sunday, February 15th, 2015
A nice little pattern for generating a swish timeline in SVG from a plain ol’ definition list in HTML.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Curiosity’s journey so far, nicely visualised.
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Beautiful visualisations of science and nature.
Made with love by a designer with a molecular biology degree.
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
Cleanup of Silicon Valley Superfund site takes environmental toll | The Center for Investigative Reporting
A terrific piece of well-illustrated data-driven journalism.