About
Randy Krum
President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization and Infographic Design

Infographic Design

Infographics Design | Presentations
Consulting | Data Visualizations

DFW DataViz Meetup

Join the DFW Data Visualization and Infographics Meetup Group if you're in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

Search the Cool Infographics site

Custom Search

Subscriptions:

 

Feedburner

The Cool Infographics® Gallery:

How to add the
Cool Infographics button to your:

Cool Infographics iOS icon

- iPhone
- iPad
- iPod Touch

 

Read on Flipboard for iPad and iPhone

Featured in the Tech & Science category

Flipboard icon

Twitter Feed
From the Bookstore

Caffeine Poster

The Caffeine Poster infographic

Monday
Apr032017

The Data Visualization Toolkit signed book giveaway

For the April Giveaway, I have a signed copy of the Data Visualization Toolkit by Barrett Clark.  Register on the Giveaways Page by April 30th to be entered. 

From Amazon:
Data Visualization Toolkit is your hands-on, practical, and holistic guide to the art of visualizing data. You’ll learn how to use Rails, jQuery, D3, Leaflet, PostgreSQL, and PostGIS together, creating beautiful visualizations and maps that give your data a voice and to make it “dance.”
 
Barrett Clark teaches through real-world problems and examples developed specifically to illuminate every technique you need to generate stunningly effective visualizations. You’ll move from the absolute basics toward deep dives, mastering diverse visualizations and discovering when to use each. Along the way, you’ll build three start-to-finish visualization applications, using actual real estate, weather, and travel datasets.
 
Clark addresses every component of data visualization: your data, database, application server, visualization libraries, and more. He explains data transformations; presents expert techniques in JavaScript, Ruby, and SQL; and illuminates key concepts associated with both descriptive statistics and geospatial data. Throughout, everything is aimed at one goal: to help you cut through the clutter and let your data tell all it can.

Barrett recently gave a talk called "Making Data Dance" at the DFW DataViz Meetup event, and I had a chance to ask him a few quesitons:

What does it mean to make your data "Dance”?

Barrett Clark: I think data wants to tell a story. Our job is to figure out what that story is and how to best present it. Seeing the data in a visual way can make it come to life and dance.

 

Who is the book written for?

Barrett Clark: Data Visualization Toolkit focuses on looking at data from the perspective of a web developer. More specifically, I speak from the perspective of a developer writing Ruby on Rails apps. There is a fair amount of JavaScript and SQL throughout the book, and I try to explain what I am doing throughout the text. My goal was to make a book that is accessible to anyone while still giving more experienced developers something valuable.

 

Can readers get all of the data and code you reference in the book?

Barrett Clark: Absolutely! There are 3 different applications that readers will build throughout the book. The code and data for the applications are available on GitHub at http://DataVisualizationToolkit.com. I also have checkpoints throughout the text where you can see what the application should look like at that point. Those are enumerated in the README for each application.

 

Why do you prefer PostgreSQL as your database platform of choice?

Barrett Clark: I have worked with several databases. PostgreSQL, or Postgres as it is often called, is by far my favorite. It is a robust database that is easy to use, has a wide array of functions and data types, and is also extendable. You can easily add to the functionality of a Postgres database with an extension. In fact, the core database ships with dozens of extensions that you don't need to install. PostGIS, which allows you to store geospatial data and perform geospatial queries, is one of my favorite extensions.

 

Why is the database and transforming your data before your create the visualizations so important?

Barrett Clark: I have seen very few data sets where you can take data directly from the database into a chart -- especially with transactional data. You can perform the data transformations in the database using SQL, in the application server using the application's prorgamming language, or in the browser using JavaScript. Databases are really good at dealing with data, so I encourage people to not be afraid to write SQL to pull out the data in the format that you need it.

 

What are the challenges for visualizing data on websites?

Barrett Clark: Speed. When you have a lot of data you need to be thoughtful about how quickly you can get the data and display it in a meaningful way. This may require some additional setup to store data for reporting in a separate format so that you don't have to do the transformations in real time. Another challenge is that you have no control over the end user's viewing experience. Something that you think looks brilliant on your laptop may look awful on someone else's screen.

 

What’s different about visualizing geospatial data?

Barrett Clark: Geospatial data is a lot of fun! When you add location to the mix you open up a whole new arena of things that you can do visually with your data, and questions that you can ask of the data. I love maps. I take readers through the creation of one of my favorite types of map -- the choropleth. That's where you color areas (counties, states, etc) in a map based on the data.

 

Are your visualizations mostly static or interactive data visualizations?

Barrett Clark: There are some mouseover effects in my visualizations that help add more context to the graph or highlight something.

 

What are your thoughts on D3.js and its future?

Barrett Clark: I love D3, and I also love what Mike Bostock has done to build such a deep assortment of examples. Between the examples and the documentation I find D3 really fun to work with. The library is also very actively maintained. As soon as I shipped Data Visualization Toolkit a new version of D3 dropped. There are branches in all 3 sample project repositories on GitHub with the updates required for D3v4.

 

Are you speaking at any upcoming presentations or webinars?

Barrett Clark: In the past few months I've spoken at PGConf Silicon Valley in San Francisco and RubyConf Australia in Melbourne. I'll be taking a break from travel for a bit and focusing on local meetups. I try to get out to the Dallas Ruby meetups whenever possible.

 

What’s the best place to follow you online?

Barrett Clark: I'm @barrettclark on Twitter.

Wednesday
Mar292017

Visualising The Beatles Signed Book Giveaway

Don't miss your chance to register for the Giveaway in March! I have one SIGNED COPY of the new infographics book Visualising The Beatles by John Pring and Rob Thomas!

Register below by 11:59pm CT on March 31, 2017 to be entered. A winner will be randomly selected on April 1st.

This is the story of the Beatles told as never before.

Explored visually, through stunning infographics and data visualisations, this book takes you on a vibrant ride through the Beatles years – from their first Cavern Club gig to the release of Let It Be.

Presenting unique, witty and surprising facts and stories, covering everything from their style to plans
for a Beatles Island, Visualising the Beatles charts how four young men evolved into one of the world’s greatest bands. It also includes beautiful visuals created from the data their music left behind, divided by album, to allow you to spot, in an instant, the patterns, anomalies and changes in the band’s lyrics, instruments, songwriting and performances.

The perfect gift for any fan of the Beatles or infographics.


Wednesday
Mar292017

Iconography of Ink

Iconography of Ink infographic

Iconography of Ink, created by Stylight.com, maps out 90 celebrity tattoos and their connections to one another. You can find other interesting facts and tips about tattoos at Stylight.com.

Tattoos—originating from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’—have decorated the skins of endless cultures, spanning thousands of years. Both Polynesian tribes and Italian monks donned such skin art, not to mention, world-traveling sailors and European monarchs.

Fast-forward to today and tattoos are common practice amongst all socioeconomic classes. Scan PopSugar, Huffington Post or Vogue magazine and you’re sure to find tattooed musicians, actors and models alike. The celebrity tattoo craze isn’t just a sign of the times, but an entertaining melodrama.

From bad ass Cambodian tigers (read: Angelina Jolie) to ill-advised dedications to spouses (we’re looking at you Melanie Griffith), watching the evolution of Hollywood tattoos rivals even the most absorbing of reality tv shows.

Thanks to Elisa for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Mar282017

Will Your Meeting Suck?

Will Your Meeting Suck? infographic

Are you in charge of scheduling meetings? We all know that nobody tends to like meetings. But you can use the Will Your Meeting Suck flowchart from Join Me to help schedule your next meeting. Avoid some mistakes and maybe you'll be the hero!

Take a spin through our infographic below to consider all the variables of your next meeting – time, location, snack situation – to help determine if your meeting will suck. Once you find out your risk level, you can do something about it

Decision diagrams and flow charts are good at sucking readers in to follow along the different paths.

Thanks to Don for sending in the link!

Monday
Mar272017

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Juicer

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Juicer infographic from Juice Producer introduces you to the benefits for juicing and helps you decide what types of juicer is best for you.

Here is our happy infographic guide to buying a juicer, the things you might want to look out for and things to avoid to get the juicer that is going to be right for you.

Simple icons and illustrations create a very informative infographic for readers. An informative infographic is much more likely to be shared than one that feels like an advertisement. It also builds credibility for the publisher, Juice Producer, by being an expert in the industry and sharing easy-to-understand information.

However, there are a couple things I would change. 

  • Minimize the text. Paragraphs are too much for an infographic
  • Include the URL. Where can readers find the original full-size version?
  • Better color choices. Yellow text on the orange backgrounds are very hard to read

Thanks to Dave for sending in the link!

Monday
Mar202017

What 770,000 Tubes of Saliva Reveal About America

Yep, it's a Map of America’s Diversity using the genetic data from the analysis of saliva samples. Ancestry.com gathed the data from 770,000 salva samples.

This unique map shows this country’s great migrations, the echoes of our pioneer ancestors in our genes today.

Each color on the map represents a present-day community of individuals tied together through their genetics. And the location of the dots show where each community’s ancestors lived over generations.

People moved east to west, less so north to south. See how the differently colored clusters form distinct horizontal bands? The red, blue, purple, and green dots fan out from right to left. This pattern means DNA confirms the descendants of immigrants to the East Coast moved westward.

While people certainly moved back and forth from the north to south as well, if people had moved in the same volume from north to south, you’d see the bands fanning downward and not just from east to west.

But instead you can see powerful forces pushed people westward, even showing that the Mason-Dixon line separates some of the clusters.

Catherine Ball, chief scientific officer at Ancestry and the leader of the study, commented to Wired“I have to admit I was surprised by that. This political boundary had the same effect as what you’d expect from a huge desert or mountain range.”

And not only can you clearly see the migration patterns westward, you can also see distinct communities of immigrants and their descendants.

Maps were generated with the maps R package using data from the Natural Earth Project (1:50 m world map, version 2.0). These data are made available in the public domain (Creative Commons CC0).

Also from the original study:


Saturday
Mar042017

Planes, Trains & Automobiles of U.S. Presidents

Official Vehicles of the President of the United States – TitleMax.com – Infographic

Official Vehicles of the President of the United States is an infographic from TitleMax showing the evolution of the vehicles used by Presidents throughout our history.

When the POTUS (President of the Unite States) has to get around, he usually does it in style. And if he’s not in style, at least we know that he’s often surrounded by millions of dollars’ worth of security detail.

Yes, for the U.S. president, cars and vehicles have always been expensive, as has been Air Force One. History has put a spotlight on the presidents’ one-of-a-kind planes: mobile White Houses, with all of the protections therein.

This information is much better shown visually like this infographic than a text bullet list. I would like to see them placed on a timeline to better line them up and show where their use overlapped.

The infographic itself is missing a copyright statement, a citation of sources, and the URL for readers to be able to find the origial full-size infographic published by TitleMax.

Found on Infographic Journal

Wednesday
Mar012017

A Visual Explanation of Gerrymandering

A Visual Explanation of Gerrymandering

The Washington Post recently published this simple but very effective visual explanation of Gerrymandering: How to steal an election: a visual guide

Gerrymandering -- drawing political boundaries to give your party a numeric advantage over an opposing party -- is a difficult process to explain. If you find the notion confusing, check out the chart above --  adapted from one posted to Reddit this weekend -- and wonder no more.

Suppose we have a very tiny state of fifty people. Thirty of them belong to the Blue Party, and 20 belong to the Red Party. And just our luck, they all live in a nice even grid with the Blues on one side of the state and the Reds on the other.

Now, let's say we need to divide this state into five districts. Each district will send one representative to the House to represent the people. Ideally, we want the representation to be proportional: if 60 percent of our residents are Blue and 40 percent are Red, those five seats should be divvied up the same way.

This is a great example of using data visualization to explain a complex process. The use of the matrix of squares to represent people simplifies the context and keeps the audience attention focused on the groupings.

 

Monday
Feb272017

O'Reilly Design Conference 20% Discount

The O'Reilly Design Conference will run from March 19-22, 2017 in San Francisco, CA. Cool Infographics readers can get 20% OFF the registration cost by using this LINK and the discount code PCCOOL

It’s no longer enough to solve creative problems well; designers must also be business-literate and tech-savvy. Join us to learn new skills—and build your career—at the sweet spot where design, business, and technology intersect.

As the combination of design and technology continues to revolutionize products, services, and the very nature of competition, the role of the designer is ever more critical. Whatever your title, if you contribute to design decisions, you need to be prepared. At the O’Reilly Design Conference, interaction and UX designers, user researchers, product designers and managers, and entrepreneurs will share important lessons on how to make a lasting impact on your organization—and the world beyond—through design.

If you're anywhere around the San Francisco area, or can make the trip, this is a fantastic conference!

Monday
Feb202017

Millions of Lines of Code

Codebases: Millions of Lines of Code infographic

Codebases: Millions of Lines of Code is another great infographic from David McCandless and Information Is Beautiful showing the massive complexity of today's modern apps and programs.

Is a million lines of code a lot? How many lines are there in Windows? Facebook? iPhone apps?

Great use of the matrix of squares to represent scale. I do think the users can lose their perception of scale when the section changes jump different values. If it was always a factor of 10, that would be clearer.