Book genres for visualization

Dec 10, 2014

Martin Wattenberg and Fernanda Viegas from Google Research ran with the book metaphor for visualization in their talk at Tapestry 2014. Unlike some who bash projects that don’t fit a narrow specification, Wattenberg and Viegas argue that visualization spans various genres. The key is to know your genre and create accordingly.

Not everything is going to be Jane Eyre. There’s the Hardy Boys. Fifty Shades of Grey. Not all books are masterpieces, but they can be successful in their own right.

The talk is about 45 minutes, with a 15-minute Q&A. It’s worth listening to the whole thing. I watched it in two parts, over my lunch break.

I’ve been trying to watch more talks lately. I didn’t attend that many conferences in graduate school, but being part of an academic programming at least led me to research and work outside the online world. The good news is that more conferences put the talks online in their entirety, so you get a chance to listen to a lot of smart people talk about what they’re interested in.

Favorites

How You Will Die

So far we’ve seen when you will die and how other people tend to die. Now let’s put the two together to see how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?

This is an American Workday, By Occupation

I simulated a day for employed Americans to see when and where they work.