Ben Fry on visualization future and data literacy

Posted to News  |  Tags: , , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Ben Fry, co-creator of Processing and head of Fathom Design, talks data visualization with O'Reilly Radar editor Mac Slocum. When asked about the concern over visualization and analysis getting into amateur hands:

I think it’s kind of funny… The same argument has been made with any technological leap since the beginning of time. Books printed in mass had a similar reaction. The internet came along and everybody could post things on the internet and wouldn’t that be the end of the world… The important thing is to focus on the literacy aspect of it. The more that people are doing the work — it all kind of goes to improve the conversation of what’s good, bad useful and what’s not.

When asked how he sees visualization developing over the next couple of years:

I think the real thing that's going to change is that we're going to start understanding that visualization isn't this sort of monolithic thing... I like to look at it a lot like writing. You have novels and poetry and haikus. You know there's lots of different types of writing and styles of writing — and I think the same thing happens in visualization... some things are tools for analysis and some things are purely for entertainment, and there's not so much a spectrum that there is different ways of addressing it.

Watch the short eight-minute interview below. There are some other interesting soundbites in there. I especially like the tidbit at the end about snippy discussions within the visualization sphere. Similar sentiments in a recent Q&A with Moritz Stefaner.

[Video Link via Fathom Design]

Favorites

Interactive: When Do Americans Leave For Work?

We don’t all start our work days at the same time, despite what morning rush hour might have you think.

Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically

There are a lot of great craft breweries in the United States, but there is only so much time. This is the computed best way to get to the top rated breweries and how to maximize the beer tasting experience. Every journey begins with a single sip.

Where Bars Outnumber Grocery Stores

A closer look at the age old question of where there are more bars than grocery stores, and vice versa.

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.