Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Bringing visualization to the masses

Illustration by Antoine Orand
As I've explained here already, How Charts Lie is my first book for the general public and—I think—the first visualization book published by a major publisher as a hardcover not aimed exclusively to designers, scientists, or analysts.

Despite its title, How Charts Lie has a positive tone: it certainly discusses how people use charts to lie to others, but most of it is devoted to explaining how we lie to ourselves with charts, and how to become better readers —and, by extension, creators—of visualizations.

The reason is that I believe that visualization is a bit like writing: anybody can take advantage of it by learning how to reason about numbers and graphics, and then choosing a tool or two. The more we lower the barrier of entry, the more voices we may have.

This is the theme of an article Google News Initiative's Simon Rogers and I have just written for Nightingale, the journal of the Data Visualization Society. Simon and I have been collaborating for years in a series of visualization projects and tools that are intended to be useful to anyone. In the article we explain our goals and hint what our next steps are (hint: a few more free tools I can't tell you much about yet and a new Massive Open Online Course.)