Web Design Done Well: Delightful Data Visualization Examples

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They say we are entering the Data Age. There’s certainly enough of the stuff about. Between analytics, public records, and the slow yet steady growth of the Semantic Web, millions of data points are at our fingertips, just waiting to have their stories told.

Telling captivating stories with data is easier said than done. Spreadsheets don’t exactly get hearts singing. Big pieces of JSON don’t inspire so much as they horrify. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. Data can dance. Data should dance.

Wind Map #

Data doesn’t have to be dusty and boring — it can be vibrant and alive. This Wind Map showing wind patterns in the US is a stunning example of how data can transcend spreadsheets and become something beautiful. More importantly, it’s intuitive to understand, a true mark of quality data visualization. Thicker, faster lines equate to stronger winds. Simple. It makes for a stunning at-a-glance picture, with more granular detail available by hovering and zooming.

DivineComedy.Digital #

Data visualization isn’t just about showing information — it’s about showing the connections between information. DivineComedy.digital is a “digital humanities tool” which shows how Dante’s Divine Comedy has manifested itself in the art across the seven centuries since it was published.

The sections of the book have been broken down into chapters, and the chapters into passages. Each contains a wealth of artworks inspired by the text — from over 70 museums by more than 90 authors. The project is a testament to Dante’s original work, the works it has since inspired, and the power of digital tools to capture the true interconnectedness of things.

The Linked Open Data Cloud #

Speaking of the interconnectedness of things, here’s something I became aware of while researching the Semantic Web a couple of years ago. The Linked Open Data Cloud visualizes more that 16,000 links between 1,300 data sources on the Web.For those interested in learning more about linked data, DPpedia is a fine place to start. Data visualization tools aren’t much good without data to work their magic on, so networks like this (and the ethos of openness and sharing behind them) are vital.