Interview with Peter Cook (animateddata.co.uk). Peter Cook is a web designer, developer and trainer. In May he will teach the basics of how to build a web-based data visualisation during the training Online Data Visualisation.
Graphic Hunters: What is the power of a good visualisation? In what way can a visualisation help to understand or to communicate information?
Peter Cook: A good visualisation can convey information in a more efficient and compelling way than words can.
Graphic Hunters: I have read that someone has to understand a visualisation within seconds, others say visualisations should leave something to explore. What is your opinion on this?
Peter Cook: I think there are different approaches to visualisation ranging from trying to create an immediate impact through to providing a more immersive, slow burn experience. Neither is right or wrong, it’s a case of being clear with what you’re trying to achieve with your visualisation.
Graphic Hunters: What is the first most important question one should ask before starting visualising the data?
Peter Cook: What am I trying to achieve? I think it’s very important to be clear about who the audience is and what information and message you’re wanting to convey to them.
Graphic Hunters: What tools are important to learn when you want to work with visualisations?
Peter Cook: It depends – for straightforward visualisations spreadsheets offer basic charts. For more advanced visualisations, something like Tableau can be useful, but for the most power, flexibility and freedom of expression, learning to code is essential.
Graphic Hunters: What is the role of design in a visualisation?
Peter Cook: I’m a big believer in the importance of a design process that stays focused on the user and their needs. Once their needs have been clarified, I find that the process of creating a visualisation is a step by step process in which I’m continuously checking that the users needs will be satisfied. Everything spins off from user needs.
Graphic Hunters: What lessons do you want the participants to take home for the training?
Peter Cook: It’s impossible to learn everything about designing and building web based visualisations in a day, but I hope to give participants an appreciation of the different techniques and tools. At the very least it’ll give them a high level view of the technologies and at best it’ll inspire some aspiring coders!
Op 12 mei aanstaande verzorgt Peter Cook de training Online Data Visualisation namens Graphic Hunters in Utrecht. In deze training maak je een interactieve visualisatie, zoals dit voorbeeld over aardbevingen gemaakt door Peter Cook.