2013 was a pretty good year for data and visualizations. Visualization in particular continues to mature and focus more on the data first than on novel designs and magnitude of scope. Our friends over at FlowingData have put together a thought-provoking REVIEW of many of the year’s most compelling visualizations. The review explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better — mainly through data visualization.
FlowingData is provided courtesy of Nathan Yau who holds a PhD in statistics. Yau’s dissertation was on personal data collection and how we can use visualization in the everyday context, so he is uniquely qualified to give us this valuable perspective of new visualizations throughout the past year.
There were several themes throughout the year, but the most important was the strengthened connection between data and reality. During some phases, when so much news was based on speculation and opinion, data was a way to form our own opinions and to view a subject more objectively. But not in that cold, robotic sort of way and more in the warm, human-like way,” said Nathan Yau.
And finally, here is a video included in the year-end review called “Wealth Inequality in America” that is probably the most illuminating visualization I’ve seen in years if for no other reason that it exposes what typical Americans believe to be the reality of wealth distribution in this country versus the actual reality. I think that everyone needs to sit through this short video to more fully understand, through data and visualization, the current state of our nation.