Exploration vs explanation

Engaging citizens through data visualizations

How to engage residents with visualisations?

Warm-up case study

Gamified poll at the European Economic Congress

Reaching broader audience with visualisations

Popularity of data visualisation

Roots and inspirations

Late 18th century visualisations

Isotype Institute & universal visual language

Vienna method

Education books

What do data designers promise?

1. To reduce complexity

2. To make content universal and accessible

3. To engage audience

and consequently...

4. To boost civic engagement

But this is not always the case...

60 + 63 + 70 = ?

100%, right?

Why otherwise great visualisations do not always work?

New York Times readers only interact with about 10% to 15% of graphics

How to design good visualizations

Exploration vs explanation



professionalsbroader audience
data interfacevisual story
rough layoutmeticulous design
complex layoutstructured narrative
expert userrandom viewer

Start with defining your user(s)

Be aware of explanatory and exploratory approaches in data visualisation



People not clicking on visualisations?

Ok, don't make them do this.

User onboarding

Come up with a good title

Population projection for Bratislava & Slovak Republic (2015–2050)

Population gap between Bratislava and the rest of the country is likely to widen

...as the capital is draining other Slovak cities

Population projection for Bratislava & Slovak Republic (2015–2050)

Show the user how to interact with your app

If necessary, explain how to read the chart

Start with individual stories

Multilayer content

Find balance between data exploration and narrative

Set information hierarchy

Consider different users and their ability to focus

Beyond visualisations

Confronting stereotypes with data

Engaging through disappointment

MapLab workgroup & building mapathons

Learning the city's history in just 15 minutes

Exhibition guests survey

Unique visual language for Katowice

Pischinger Font

4 layers of Katowice's typographic history


How to engage through visualisations?

1. Define your audience

2. Avoid content overload as well as oversimplification

3. Build a story or multiple micro-stories

4. Challenge users’ opinions and perceptions

5. Leave room for interpretation

Be critcial!

Learn more

Thank you!