Tech Round Up: Tools for DataViz

As somebody schooled in the “Flash” era of web production, I pretty much took it for granted that if you wanted to present anything with animation or visual sophistication, much less with data visualizations such as charts and graphs, you needed to use Flash. So I’ve been astonished at the growing sophistication of what programmatic visualization tools that use things like CSS and JQuery can now do. They have left Flash (and many of its problems) far behind.

Here is a nice round up of six data visualization tools (aka dataviz) found via NTEN, the Non-Profit Technology Network, and originally written by Paul Chamberlain of the digital production house

Below is an example from one he lists, Highcharts. It’s a fee-based service, but impressive: in addition to a range of formats that rivals Excel’s charts and graphs engine, you can do dynamic data, and also let users change graphs in the displayed page (although I’m not sure if that user data can be saved). Nice design, although includes unnecessary options for “chart junk,” like meaningless gradients in backgrounds that drive Edward Tufte nuts.

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 8.10.58 AM

I should write a javascript to hide (or add) chart junk.

These tools would have changed the three years colleagues and I spent producing online professional development courses for math teachers, which entailed producing many flash animations of charts and graphs from scratch in Flash.

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