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OpenVis Conf 2015

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At AppNeta, we collect huge amounts of data every day about the performance of our customer’s applications. We put a lot of thought into how best to present it so that our users can easily make sense of this data and quickly resolve any issues with their web apps.

Our product and UX team recently enjoyed some inspiring talks at OpenVis Conf in Boston, a two day conference about the practice of visualizing data on the web. We’ve shared our personal favorites below.

 

Quintin Marcus

  • When most people think animation on the web, they cringe. They think of the extreme, elements whizzing around the page and flashing for attention. In “Motion Design with CSS”, Val Head walks us through the basics of CSS animation and how to take advantage of it. She demonstrates how subtle tweaks of timing and using supplemental actions can add dimension to your animations and give interactions a bit more joy. Her biggest advice? Speed up your animations and don’t obsess, no one wants to wait.

  • In “User-Centered Visualization Research”, Lane Harrison illustrates the importance of leveraging perception to improve visualization design. His research compares the performance of a wide-variety of charts (scatter plots, lines, bars, and more) and how they are perceived by users. Data sets can have a lot of potential, but if they’re not being fully realized, a lot of things can be missed. By making more optimal design choices, we can reach viable conclusions faster.

Jennifer Burner

  • The excitement in the room was palpable for the keynote on Day 2 of OpenVis Conf. Santiago Ortiz from Moebio in Barcelona started off with a bang by introducing Lichen, an ecosystem designed to make it easier for anyone to interact with data. This is exciting to me because of the endless possibilities for collaboration that a standard framework and platform opens. Ortiz gives the example of some projects that show off the power of Lichen, including recognizing patterns in company performances (here) and identifying outliers in banking transactions using a musical representation (here).

  • In Building Earth: Animated Map of Global Weather, Cameron Beccario talks us through the process of building a visualization of weather data in d3, “earth”. This stood out to me for both the determined way that Beccario approached the project, and his candid discussion at the end, about lessons he learned, including the perils of data visualizations inferring a false sense of authority.

  • One talk that really resonated with me was Lauren McCarthy’s session on Learning while making P5.js, a JavaScript library that makes coding accessible for artists, designers, educators, and beginners. Lauren talks about the challenges she overcame working on this project and finishes with an impressive live demo of p5. Inspiring!

You can see the full set of talks from OpenVis Conf at http://openvisconf.com/#videos.

If you liked this post, check out our team’s recommendations from PyCon.