008  |  Interview with Jeff Heer

Hi Folks,

We are raising the bar here!

In this new episode we have Jeff Heer, Assistant Professor at Stanford and creator of 4 (!) data visualization toolkits/languages (Prefuse, Flare, Protovis, D3).

Jeff is a very well regarded researcher in the area of visualization, user interfaces and human-computer interaction. If you don’t know him yet we strongly encourage you to give a look to his projects web page, you’ll find lots of cool stuff there like his studies on Graphical Perception and Wrangler, a data pre-processing tool.

Talking with Jeff has been great and very inspiring. We talk about past, present and future of visualization; everything dressed with LOLs, a bit of gossip and … one scoop at the end of the podcast!

Have fun,
Enrico & Mo

Episode Chapters

[00:00:00] Introduction: Today’s special guest – Jeff Heer
[00:03:12] Investigating complete data interaction flows, and how visualization can help
[00:06:47] Data wrangling
[00:09:50] Prefuse, flare, protovis, d3
[00:10:44] prefuse
[00:14:52] flare
[00:17:05] protovis
[00:22:17] d3
[00:28:52] Comparing the different paradigms
[00:35:06] What’s next?
[00:38:33] Flexible tools for data exploration
[00:41:42] How to bridge research and practice?
[00:49:44] Function vs. aesthetics?
[00:53:33] Is there a future for high-end customized visualization?
[00:56:02] Why is visualization so popular right now?
[01:01:18] The future of visualization
[01:14:06] Super secret start-up in formation!


  1. Ant Galvin says:

    Moritz, Enrico – Excellent episode. I am a late convert after several years of hardcore database work to Data Vizualisation. Your Podcasts have been invaluable, and I found this one especially good as I am trying to master D3 at the moment. Suggestion for a future topic – Many of your conversations address mass-market vizualisations such as data journalism. What about the other end of the scale, industry specific vizualisations in bioinformatics or finance, any interesting stories here? It strikes me that the business interfaces of the future will move away from tabular data towards more visually appealing models. Keep up the great work!

  2. Hi Ant, great to hear DS is useful for you! I know what you mean and your suggestion is very welcome. The point is that visualization for the large public has such a larger exposure that it is natural to give priority to that. But we are very well aware of the need to talk about industry specific vis. The fact is that access to these stories is way more limited. Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. Djam says:

    Great episode and thanks for making these podcasts!

    I have a question: what are the concrete examples of “academic visualizations” that Enrico refers to? I haven’t paid attention to it, but now that it is being brought up in almost every single episode (usually in the context of “the gap between academic vs practitioners’ works”), I am curious what is really meant by “academic”. Is it a black & white bar chart that does the job, but doesn’t appeal sexy, or it is more than that?

  4. Andrew Saul says:

    Really great episode guys. Thanks for getting this guest on and of course being your awesome selves.

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