Introducing the VDL Blog

tldr: We're starting a blog to communicate about our research and share our thoughts on data visualization!

As of today, the Visualization Design Lab has a blog!

Why another data visualization blog?

A lot of visualization researchers have been avid bloggers for years. Eagereyes was an early academic visualization blog, and now there’s a lot of momentum on Medium, with the Multiple Views blog focusing on academic research, while the Data Vis Societies’ Nightingale blog/journal has a broader, non-academic perspective. Through a blog format, we’re making vis research more accessible to other researchers and practitioners alike!

Why not post on Medium or WordPress?

This blog is on our website, and that’s a deliberate decision. We want to control what we post and how it looks, but most importantly we want to have control over the content and be able to guarantee it is online, even in 20 years. Who knows what Medium’s or WordPress’, other blogging sites’ plans may be. Will they switch to a pay-per-view model? Will they go bankrupt? Using a popular platform like Medium might get us more readers, but we think being able to reliably archive our posts is more important. That said, we are willing to cross-post on occasion, if one of the established blogs invites us to!

What to expect?

This blog will mostly be about our research papers. Academic papers are often formulaic and dense and have a roundabout way of telling a story. Through this blog we will publish more accessible versions of our lab’s research, focusing on the key message. We will always link to the original, full-text papers, as only papers have all the necessary information to reproduce our work, and give proper credit to the scholarship that enabled our contributions.

We also will occasionally blog on other data visualization topics; for example, we’re kicking this blog off with a post on why dashboards are problematic.

When can I read more?

If you want to keep up to date with our blog, the best way is to follow the Vis Design Lab Twitter Account, we’ll always announce new blog posts there. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed.

We have posts about the state’s coronavirus dashboards, and about our recent CHI paper on evaluating complex vis systems in the works, so expect an update soon!