data viz

2019 Data Summer Reading List

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

Sam Keen

Now that Summer is here it’s a great time to recharge our batteries. Whether it’s a much needed vacation, a nap in the hammock, hours watching soccer games or curling up with a good book. Here are the books that made it onto the Juice Summer reading list this year. We’ve started some of them, but plan to get through the entire list by Labor Day.

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After hearing Alberto speak recently in Atlanta on his book tour we added it to our list. We’re sure it will make it to the Juice reference library along with his other books.

 
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This book was on Bill Gates Summer reading list last year and we’re finally getting around to reading it. Each chapter tells a great story about how to think about data in the context of real life.

 
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This book has gotten a lot of interest in the data visualization community, so hard to ignore it and not make it a focal part of our Summer.

 
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As Juicebox supports data storytelling at scale, we love to read anything we can get our hands on about stories. This one came highly recommended to us.

 
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We’re always up for some clever humor. This book fits the bill and just skimming us made us laugh.

 
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This book is a beautiful compilation of maps and hard to put down. Very enjoyable to skim and appreciate the illustrations on a rainy day or Summer afternoon.

10 Visualizations of Juicebox

Christmas is a special time of year. We all have our favorite aspects of the season. In the spirit of Christmas and the Christmas carol, the 12 days of Christmas, here are the Juice team’s 10 favorite visualizations.

You will recognize some of these as your own favorites, but some are exclusive to the Juicebox platform. To learn more about the visualizations exclusive to Juicebox and Juice design schedule some time with us.

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Leaderboard

An exclusive Juicebox visualization. Leaderboards are a great way to look at a dimension or group across multiple rankings. Who really is best on the team? Its never one metric and a leaderboard lets you compare across multiple metrics. Here’s a video showing a leaderboard in action from a few years ago.

 
Flower

Flower

A very engaging way to compare performance across locations, such as hospitals or schools. Each entity is represented as a flower and every metric is represented by a petal. We were inspired by the work of Moritz Stefaner.

 
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Ranked List

Its not just a horizontal bar chart, but an interactive way to see a top ranking as well as a way to explore a long list. The Juicebox way of letting a user explore a long list is unique. Easy to understand because of its familiarity while delivering a lot of interactivity for exploration. Here’s an example from our Notre Dame application.

 
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Sankey

This visualization isn’t exclusive to Juicebox, but well-loved by clients because of its easy way to explore changes over time among groups. Our version is much easier with more options than the Tableau version with its dynamic generated polygons.

 
Distribution

Distribution

This is exclusive to Juicebox despite its less than creative name. The data is binned to show distribution of values while also emphasizing the individual items (by showing details on roll-over) that make up the “bars.” A really easy, yet powerful way for users to explore their data.

 
Orbit

Orbit

A variation on the bubble chart that shows relationships. This breaks some data visualization rules, but is helpful for exploring hierarchy and avoiding too much overlap. Like a bubble chart it uses size and color to convey information.

 
Scatter

Scatter Plot

The scatter plot is a common visualization for data exploration. Juicebox adds panels and panel colors to better help the user understand the values that are good or bad. By clicking on a panel, the user can focus on a specific group of items for action.

 
Map

Map

We love using maps as a filter for other visualizations. Additional encoding with dynamic labels further adds to a user’s understanding of the information.

 
Treemap

Treemap

We’ve been doing TreeMaps since 2009 so they hold a special place for us. This is still one of the best ways to show hierarchical data that has values that can be aggregated.

 
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Key Metric

While not quite a visualization, almost every data story starts with a quick summary of metrics, often with a comparison to goals or benchmarks. A key metric visual sets the foundation for what a user will get in their dashboard or application.

 
Lollipop

Lollipop

The Lollipop is another good way to show comparisons among groups. Lollipop is our preferred way of sharing metrics when the metrics can be compared along a common scale. This is a good alternative to a bullet chart.

2018 Data and Visualization Gift Ideas

We’re continuing our tradition of the annual data gift guide. These are some of our favorite books and gift ideas for the data scientist, designer or analyst in your life.

While you’re here take a look at the Juicebox product page to see what it looks like unwrapped.

Happy Holidays!

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New Books We Love

Books we read in 2018

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Classic Data Books

We’re a little biased in this category, but these are the books on our desks that we refer to all the time.

Data Fluency - Thinking about changing how your team or organization works with data?This is the book for you.

Storytelling with Data - This one already feels like a classic. It provides simple, clear guidance on chart usage and storytelling. Hard not to reference it in the midst of a project.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy - This is the book that keeps us grounded. Despite how much we think data is delicious and fun its serious too.

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines - A seminal read on learning about interactions between humans and machines.

Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics - Nathan Yau’s book that teaches us something new every time we pick it up.

The Truthful Art: Data, Charts, and Maps for Communication - We love all of Alberto’s books, but this one is our favorite. Wonderful examples throughout the book.

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Art & Posters

Infographics, Maps, Data Art & More

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Data Nerds

This is a term of affection during the holidays.

Tootsie Rolls™ and Data Vis

Does anyone remember the old Tootsie Roll commercial from the 70’s? You know, the one that went “whatever it is I think I see, becomes a Tootsie Roll™ to me” (you can thank me later for putting that jingle back in your head).

There's been this ongoing discussion in the Juice office for a while about how good data visualizations are like Tootsie Rolls: they’re sweet, sticky, and wrapped in wax paper... um, not really (unless you’re Timo Elliot - thanks for the laugh, Timo; well played.) But we do believe that there are great data visualization lessons to be learned from what works in everyday life. We call these not-so-Fewian examples “Everyday Visualizations”. Everyday Visualizations are physical items that are arranged in such a way as to communicate some state or measurement of our surroundings. For instance, you might glance at a budding tree and "measure" that spring is just starting.

Well, the other day Frederica, one of our followers in Italy, sent us a few pics epitomizing some particularly thought provoking examples she noticed:

There are 5 people in line in front of me. (Thanks Frederica!)

There are 5 people in line in front of me. (Thanks Frederica!)

It’s not going to rain today in Naples, Italy.

It’s not going to rain today in Naples, Italy.

These pics got us thinking again about all that can be learned from the everyday. As a result, we decided to post a few of the best examples we’ve seen. Here are a few we've collected over the months.

Everyday Visualizations in the Office

More than half a charge.

More than half a charge.

Phweww... I won’t have to reload paper... this time.

Phweww... I won’t have to reload paper... this time.

We’ll be on a new bottle by this time tomorrow.

We’ll be on a new bottle by this time tomorrow.

Everyday Visualizations about food!

Just enough water for a cup of tea.

Just enough water for a cup of tea.

M&M’s I’m going to eat today.

M&M’s I’m going to eat today.

Viz-nerds like wine, too. (or is it: Wine-nerd like vis, too?)

Viz-nerds like wine, too. (or is it: Wine-nerd like vis, too?)

(yep, that's right, we didn't include a single "pie" chart. ;-) )

What other categories can you think of where you see everyday visualizations? Weather? Traffic? Electricity? Send us some of your pics to info at juiceanaltyics dot com and we’ll post the best ones. Enjoy!

Visual Storytelling - a thing of the past

I spent quite a few summer vacations as a kid getting dragged around Europe visiting castles and churches.   It is definitely an experience that I’m more thankful for now than I was at the time.   One of the things that I loved most, even as a child, was seeing the stained glass windows.  I have strong memories of being in Notre Dame in Paris and watching the light come in at dawn or staring at the Chartres Cathedral windows for minutes without moving.

image by Tobyotter via Flickr

image by Tobyotter via Flickr

As a boy, it wasn’t the history, the architecture or an admiration of the faith involved to build these churches.  Those were concepts beyond my ability, knowledge or frankly interest at the time.  What I have come to realize only in the past couple of years is that the windows were meant for me. At the base level, I needed something that could grab my attention and hold it. What I have discovered is that from this standpoint, I am no different than the illiterate masses of the Middle Ages or Renaissance.

I discovered that hundreds of years ago, with a need to engage the European population and educate them on scripture, someone decided it wasn’t the job of masons, who built structures that would last for centuries, but storytellers and designers who could make kids, like me, stop and look.  This was the intent all along as stained glass windows were referred to as “biblia pauperum", which meant "poor man's bible".

Now, with two years under my belt at Juice and hundreds of churches visited, it is interesting to apply the history and beauty of stained glass windows to the field of data visualization and presentation graphics. I now have a better handle on the true value of a designer.  For “design” to work for me, in any type of artistic endeavor, the designer should make me feel that it was designed specifically for me and make it beautiful at the same time to help lengthen my otherwise short span of attention.

As the noise about data visualization and data storytelling grows, it is nice to see that current leading experts in the field also value (and have not forgotten) these 2 design principles provided by our European ancestors.

Consider these two examples:

Design for your audience

  • In a recent blog dated 5/10/13, Stephen Few highlights this important customized approach as the 2nd of 7 tenets for best practices of quantitative Data presentations.

Beauty's role in dashboard design

  • Back in November of 2009, even before I joined the team, Juice published a frequently downloaded “Guide to Creating Dashboards People Love to Use”. The guide noted that “modern web design has moved on to seek a union of utility, usability and beauty. We must find a similar union when displaying data in business.” (bold and italics added)

What will we learn from these impactful stories, built and told on stained glass sanctuary walls?  Will we preserve the most important principles found on those magnificent etchings? Today, our stories are accessed and downloaded from cloud-based applications and displayed in high resolution graphics on state-of-the-art devices. Yet our challenge is the same: capture the attention and imagination of our viewers – in a user-centric and aesthetically pleasing way.