Data Stories #43: IEEE VIS’14

It took us a while, but — here we go! A three part episode from IEEE VIS 2014.

Thanks again to Robert Kosara for coming on our show again to talk shop, and look back on a week full of really interesting scientific findings about data visualization. The list below should make great reading for the holidays :)

A big thanks also to our sponsor Tableau Software who continue to support us, which we are very grateful for.

Here are some of the links we discussed:

Everything except the chart

“Multivariate Network Exploration and Presentation: From Detail to Overview via Selections and Aggregations”
Domino: Extracting, Comparing, and Manipulating Subsets across Multiple Tabular Datasets

Revisiting Bertin matrices: New Interactions for Crafting Tabular Visualizations

Semiology of graphics

iVisDesigner: Expressive Interactive Design of Information Visualizations

The Effects of Interactive Latency on Exploratory Visual Analysis

Error Bars Considered Harmful: Exploring Alternate Encodings for Mean and Error

Four Experiments on the Perception of Bar Charts

An Algebraic Process for Visualization Design

The Not-so-Staggering Effect of Staggered Animated Transitions on Visual Tracking

Combing the Communication Hairball: Visualizing Large-Scale Parallel Execution Traces using Logical Time

Perceptual Kernels
Data and source code:

Ranking Visualization of Correlation Using Weber’s Law

A Principled Way of Assessing Visualization Literacy

Barbara Tversky

Scott McCloud

Let us know your thoughts! Which study did you find most interesting?

Data Stories #42 — with Santiago Ortiz

Hey folks we have some news: data stories has now for the first time a sponsor. Tableau Software will be sponsoring a number of episodes starting from this one. You will hear the specifics in the audio but this is good news for everyone. The content will not change, but we will be able to create a higher-quality show. And by the way we will also be able to pay a fee to our audio editors who have done a lot of free work for us so far (thanks Nathan and Fabricio!)

You can try Tableau following this link:



Hi all, we have the great Santiago Ortiz with us again in this episode.

Santiago builds interactive data visualizations to “get deep insight from data, solve real problems and answer strategic questions“.

If you are an avid DS follower you may recall we had him on the show in episode 19. In this episode he comes back to talk with us about visualization and data science, how he strives to create value our of his data visualization projects and how he is *not* interested data visualization!

Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #41: With Lisa Strausfeld

Lisa-StrausfeldHi Folks! In this episode we have Lisa Strausfeld from Bloomberg with us.

Lisa started doing VIS very early on and in the episode she tells us about her super interesting story of how she got into VIS and all the jobs she has done: starting as a student of Art and Computer Science (yes, Art and CS!), designing chips for Motorola, up to these days at Bloomberg Visual Data and Bloomberg View.

If you want to know more about her work you should definitely check this video, where she presents may of the visualization projects we worked on.

Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #40: Narrative Visualization Research w/ Jessica Hullman


Hey yo! We are back!

We have a very researchy kind of episode this time. Jessica Hullman is on the show to talk about her research on narrative visualization. Jessica is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Berkeley and soon to be Assistant Professor at University of Washington iSchool.

In the show we talk about lots of interesting basic visualization research like visualization literacy, bias and saliency, uncertainty and about some interesting automated annotation systems Jessica developed.

We also talk about Jessica’s background in experimental poetry!

Have fun.


Data Stories #39: DensityDesign w/ Paolo Ciuccarelli

Hi there!

We have been chasing Paolo for a while and eventually we managed to have him on the show. Paolo is Associate Professor at Politecnico di Milano and he is the founder of Density Design, a lab with an interesting mix of research, design and visualization.

With Paolo we talk about all things at the intersection of design and visualization, including a very interesting digression on architecture and how it helped him in the development of the lab. We also talk about how to teach design and the role of Visualization in the Humanities.

We also talk about Raw, an online visualization tool they developed which has recently gained quite some popularity (if you don’t know it you should try it).

Enjoy the show!


Data Stories #38: Visual Complexity w/ Manuel Lima

Hi all,

Finally, after chasing him for a long while we have Manuel Lima on the show! Manuel has been around for a very long time. He created Visual Complexity in 2005, an archive of network visualizations which became very popular. He is also the author of two great books: Visual Complexity and The Book of Trees. In the show we talk about archiving visualizations, how to write and publish visualization books and how the whole field had developed and where it is heading. Great great show!

Take care.


And once again, thanks to our audio editor Nathan Griffiths ( for taking care of this episode!

Data Stories #37: The Challenge of Teaching Visualization w/ Scott Murray and Andy Kirk

That’s a particularly tough but juicy episode folks! We turn a little bit inward and talk about the many challenges of teaching visualization.

We have code artist Scott Murray on the show, the author of the lovely D3 book “Interactive Data Visualization for the Web” and our almost-cohost ever-present Andy Kirk with us from

Scott teaches visualization courses at Department of Art and Architecture University of San Francisco and Andy teaches some very popular 1-day workshop courses all around the world.

We talk about our experience with teaching visualization, reporting about what seems to work and what does not. I think we mostly report about our constant struggle to make things work :) Hopefully this is going to be of help and fun for you guys!

And once again, thanks to our audio editor Nathan Griffiths ( for taking care of this episode!


Data Stories #36: Data Art w/ Jer Thorp


Hey yo … super cool guest today on Data Stories. We have data artist Jer Thorp for a whole episode on Data Art and Visualization. We managed to catch him before he leaves for a deep dive in a submarine next week.

Jer is former artist in residence at New York Times R&D Labs and now he is the co-founder of the Office For Creative Research, a studio/lab that mixes science and art. Among many other things he is the creator of the algorithm and software tool “to aid in the placement of the nearly 3,000 names on the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan” and Cascade, a tool to visualize “the sharing activity of New York Times content over social networks.”

In this episode we talk about his past and new projects, teaching art and vis and the many intersections between art and science.

[Big thanks to Nathan Griffiths for audio-editing the episode!]


Data Stories #35: Visual Storytelling w/ Alberto Cairo and Robert Kosara

datastories fun storytelling

Hi all,

Hot topic today! We invited Alberto Cairo and Robert Kosara to discuss the role of storytelling in visualization.  What is storytelling? Is all visualization storytelling? Should we always strive for telling a story? How does storytelling match with exploratory visualization? Should we aim more for worlds and macroscopes than stories as Moritz advocated a while back at Visualized? We went on a somewhat lengthy discussion on these topics and I think we all ended up agreeing on a lot of things and developed a much more nuanced view of storytelling. As you can see from the picture we had lots of fun (thanks Robert for taking the screenshot). Fantastic chat!

Note: Alberto had a lot more to say after the episode so he decided to publish a follow up post that clarifies some of the things he said on the show. But — spoiler alert — listen to the episode first! :)

P.S. Big, big thanks to Fabricio Tavares for taking care of the audio editing of this episode!


Data Stories #34: Data journalism w/ Simon Rogers

[Thanks to our audio editor Nathan Griffiths ( for taking care of this episode]

Hi everyone!

After a long while … we have a real British voice on the show again! In this episode we have the pleasure to host data journalist Simon Rogers.

Simon has been leading data journalism initiatives at The Guardian for many years and he recently moved to Twitter (with the official role of Data Editor) where he takes care of creating visual stories out of Twitter data.

In the show we talk about his past experience at The Guardian as well as the more recent and exciting developments at Twitter.