When I was teaching a class on data visualization and we started tackling making visualizations using data from the NYT API, I created a simple bar chart visualization using Processing, using code I adapted from an exercise by Jer Thorpe in the book Beautiful Visualization. I thought, “Who are two newsworthy figures that will have lots of mentions?” And I chose Bill and Hillary Clinton, in the time period 2011-2012. Completely blew my mind that Bill Clinton appears to have gotten more NYT mentions during that time, considering that she was Secretary of State and he was not even in office at the time. Note: This example, as you’ll see below, does not use the NYT’s faceted search, which identifies[…]

#WhenIBuyTheGlobe our digital strategy will include a giant laser pointer that’ll bring all the LOLCats to the yard. [Context: The Globe is for sale, again.] Code I wrote to create this:  [Github/lisawilliams: wheniowntheglobe.pde]

I’m a big fan of the visual programming language Processing, which began as a collaboration between visual artists and computer scientists. While I use it for data visualization, a lot of people use it for art.  Here are some examples. There’s only one problem — Processing’s dependency on Java, and Java’s broken relationship with the Web. Here’s a screenshot of a project page on OpenProcessing, the great online repository of Processing sketches: I don’t know about you, but the Web is where I want to see my work, so working in a language that won’t work with modern browsers just isn’t acceptable to me. I can get “legacy sketches” using Processing/Java alone to work in Firefox, kind of — but[…]

My name is Lisa Williams and I recently finished teaching a four week course for absolute beginners on data visualization — absolute beginners who happened to have day jobs in mission-driven nonprofits and local community foundations. I found the experience, and the class’ participants energy and insight very inspiring. When I finished, I thought, “I should write a book — so that anybody who wants to change the world can also change charts and graphs.” I wasn’t sure what to call it, until I attended a gathering of my students and peers. One of them suggested that I call it “Data For Radicals.” “Do you really have to be that radical to learn data visualization?” I asked? “No, but it[…]

My name is Lisa Williams and I recently finished teaching a four week course for absolute beginners on data visualization — absolute beginners who happened to have day jobs in mission-driven nonprofits and local community foundations.    I found the experience, and the class’ participants energy and insight very inspiring.  When I finished, I thought, “I should write a book — so that anybody who wants to change the world can also change charts and graphs.” I wasn’t sure what to call it, until I attended a gathering of my students and peers.  One of them suggested that I call it “Data For Radicals.”  “Do you really have to be that radical to learn data visualization?” I asked?  “No, but[…]

Have you heard of Processing? Processing is a computer programming language that was created as a collaboration between computer scientists and artists; it’s a visual programming language. I love it because it has such great beginner resources, including a wonderful beginner’s guide, “Getting Started With Processing.” There’s only one problem with Processing: Java, and in particular, Java’s broken relationship with the web. Java is another programming language that Processing relies on (in fact, Processing is sometimes called a “dialect” of Java). But due to silly corporate conflicts and lousy browser support, a lot of java applets no longer work in modern browsers. That’s not cool if you want your work on the web.