As you may know, my new book, Better Data Visualizations: A Guide for Scholars, Researchers, and Wonks is coming out in February 2021. One of my goals in that book is to help expand readers’ graphic literacy. Instead of relying on the tried-and-true bar, line, and pie charts, what about trying a slope chart, dot plot, or tile grid map? 

As a companion to the book, I asked experts and friends in the data visualization field to record short videos explaining how to read and use different charts. There are videos that describe basic chart types, but also videos covering cartograms, beeswarms, histograms, waterfalls, and much, much more. All of the videos consist of a short opening and closing from me and the guests’ description of the graph. A new video will be released each weekday between today and late March.

As our experience with Zoom and other video platforms increased during the COVID pandemic, this is an opportune moment to provide a (free) library of data visualization tutorials on more and different graph types. But instead talking about each visualization myself, bringing in more voices will make the series more interesting and diverse. Contributors come from all walks of the data visualization field: researchers, practitioners, freelancers, government, media, and the private sector.

Video Parameters

I gave each contributor a graph type and asked them to record themselves answering three primary questions:

  1. Can you please describe the graph?
  2. Can you please describe any considerations chart makers need to take into account when creating this type of chart?
  3. Can you please share an example of this chart you really like?

I asked that the video be short and to not worry too much about the production value. This isn’t intended to be a collection of “fancy” videos with high production-quality, but instead to be a simple, fun way for people around the world to learn about data visualization. Of course, a 5-minute recorded video sounds like it will be easy to make, but it takes time to prepare, find the right example, and work out the technical issues. I’m very appreciative of everyone who participated in this series (see the incredible list of contributors below).

Not every graph, chart, and diagram in the book is covered in this video series. Ultimately, some people couldn’t record their video and some people weren’t happy with their video and didn’t want it posted. In the end, there are more than 50 videos in this series, which (along with the book!) should be a great reference tool for anyone seeking to expand their graphic toolbox.

Where to Watch

I’m publishing the series on my YouTube channel and it promises to offer an amazing introduction to the wide array of graph types people can and should explore. Of course, my book dives into more detail on these and more graphs, charts, and diagrams.

You can watch my introductory video below, but the rest of the series will reside solely on YouTube (I recommend you subscribe to get notified of each video). I’ll post a video each weekday around 9a EST for the next few months.

I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy!

Thanks to the more than 50 people who contributed to this series!

Aaron Williams, Alice Feng, Alli Torban, Alyssa Fowers, Amber Thomas,  Amelia Wattenberger, Andy Kirk, Ann Emery, Ben Jones, Brittany Fong, Casey Miller, Cedric Sherer, Christine Zhang, Claus O. Wilke, Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, Darla Cameron, David Napoli,Eva Murray, Francis Gagnon, Heidi Kalbe, Jan Willem Tulp, Jeff Shaffer, Jen Christiansen, Jim Vallandingham, Katy Borner, Kennedy Elliott, Kenneth Field, Laz Gamio, Len Kiefer, Lindsay Betzendahl, Maarten Lambrechts, Marti Hearst, Meagan Longoria, Michael Brenner, Neil Richards, Nigel Hawtin, Nigel Holmes, Niklas Elmqvist, Priya Krishnakumar, Randy Krum, Rebecca Pazos, RJ Andrews, Robert Kosara, Robert Simmon, Sarah Slobin, Severino Ribecca, Stefanie Posavec, Steve Franconeri, Steve Haroz, Steve Wexler, Tom Mock, Tristan Guillevin, Will Chase, Xan Gregg, and Youyou Zhou.