In June 2019, we started the Data Visualization Zürich meetup with a fundamental question: Why is data visualization so important? Over the past 1.5 year, we adressed this question in 15 events, with a community that has grown to over 800 members from Zürich, Switzerland, and the whole World. When planning an event, we aspire to tackle a broad variety of topics, from general knowledge to niche aspects, and to hear from a diverse set of voices, from local practitioners to international talents. We talked about maps, tools, accessibility, video games, social media, empathy, design principles, and many other topics…

The home page of OECD’s Going Digital Toolkit with the flagship visualization.

At Interactive Things, we create data-driven applications spanning from highly curated data stories (about Roger Federer’s career for instance) to more general data exploration tools (like the Public Values Atlas or UNESCO’s World Inequalities Database on Education). They represent different challenges: a data story allows to use custom, unique and original chart types with styles that are tailored to the story. An exploration tool implies more generic charts, a system that can be applied to any dataset without requiring a deep knowledge of each dataset.

When OECD asked us to create the Going Digital Toolkit, we faced a different challenge…

Make your data (visualization) accessible, sound up.

Using the two dimensions of a sheet of paper to convey meaning from an opaque dataset is about making data accessible. And it involves visual components: making sure color schemes are colorblind-friendly, using enough contrast between text and their background, labeling data directly instead of using complex keys, etc. But when the visual language is not accessible to a user, data visualization alone is not enough. Is it possible to make data not only visual but also talkative? …

Luc Guillemot

Data visualization & Social Sciences

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