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Repo for U of Miami course on interactive vis.

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Interactive Data Vis Course Repo

Repo for U of Miami School of Communication course on interactive data visualization for the web by Lynn Cherny (fall 2015 and spring 2016). The repo is best viewed on Lynn is @arnicas on twitter.

Office Hours: Wolfson 1020A, M & Th 1-3 or by appt.
Emails for homework: [email protected]

What the Course Covers

1. Interactive Data Vis: Design Principles, Techniques, Best-Practices...

Originally intended as having a journalistic focus, the course contents will expand a little more in spring 2016 to address broader topics in visualization. (Those additions are in progress.)

  • Week1: Intro to Tools and the Course, Setup, CSVs
  • Week2: Loading CSV Data, Highcharts
  • Week3: Data Loading, Tables in D3
  • Week4: More tables, Scales, SVG
  • Week5: Bar Charts, Axes, Text Labels, Scatterplots
  • Week6: Linecharts, Events, Simple Tooltips
  • Week7: Improved Line Charts, Transitions
  • Week8: Updates to Data, More Transitions
  • Week9: Stacking Chart Types, Intro to Small Multiples
  • Week10: Small Multiples, Intro to Maps
  • Week11: Maps: D3, Leaflet, CartoDB...
  • Week12: Storytelling Techniques: Scrollytelling, Steppers
  • Week13: Animation: Lines, Play/Pause...
  • Week14: Reusable charts, Other Layouts, Project Tips/Grading
  • Week15: Helpful Tips: How to File a Bug Report, Debugging

All the made-for-class example files are here. Many other examples are linked in each week's folder.

2. Programming Techniques and Tools We'll Cover

  • Good practices with D3.js for data vis
  • Javascript and useful libraries like jQuery, lodash
  • Web Charting libs like Highcharts, D3, libs on top of D3 like Dimple.js
  • GitHub use
  • Debugging how-to's

3. Evaluation

Grading based on weekly homeworks (60%) and a final project (40%) that uses many of the techniques in a storytelling project using data that interests you. This is a project course - you will be making things more than you will be reading or writing, but there will be a bit of that, too.

Primary emphasis is on end user experience and data honesty; secondary consideration will be good coding practices.

Homework Due Dates: Due by 5pm on Monday before class day, unless I decide otherwise... You will be submitting links by email ([email protected]).

Data Sources To Use

UNICEF & Child Mortality (Fall Semester Client, optional for Spring)

  • The client brief
  • The 2014 Key Findings Report on pdf (plus other publications that may be useful!)
  • Their data sites:,
  • World Health Org (WHO):
  • - UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (IGME), of which UNICEF is a member (new data coming in September)

Links to Datasets

  • Jeremy Singer-Vine's excellent tinyletter archives for Data Is Plural (and maybe get on the list!):, his giant spreadsheet
  • My delicious links to datasets
  • World Bank Data
  • Sets collected by Curran Kelleher:
  • A big list of CSV datasets:

Quantified Self

Use yourself as data! Learn about yourself! Fitbit's, sleep trackers, self-logging...Amazon shopping logs, email data, Facebook friends, etc!

  • A long list of data sources, tools, etc. on Wikipedia
  • Nicolas Felton's Annual Reports: started analogue, then developed an IPhone app ( and got digital with Processing: e.g.,
  • Flowing Data links on "self-surveillance":
  • Dear Data" -- analogue artistic vis by @stefpos and @giogialupi:

You can't improve what you don't measure :)

Background: D3 Books and Tutorial Materials

  • Interactive Data Visualization for the Web ("IDVW"), Scott Murray’s book: Online version: Code samples here. This is the book I'll assign most intro D3 readings from.
  • D3 Tips and Tricks book by Malcolm MacLean, and
  • D3.js in Action ("D3IA"), by Elijah Meeks. If you want ebook, order via Manning: This is a more advanced book than Scott's, and covers many D3 layouts we won't get to in class. Recommended for going further.
  • Developing a D3 Edge by By Chris Viau, Andrew Thornton, Ger Hobbelt, and Roland Dunn: (intermediate (i.e., more advanced than the ones above; covers good coding patterns too.)
  • Tutorials by Mike Bostock, primary author of D3: (and some others listed).
  • Learn JS Data from
  • Blocksplorer: search for code examples in D3 blocks!
  • Great overall tips:
  • D3 examples of Chart Types:
  • D3 Newbie FAQ: I am working on this, and will be editing it as we encounter new ones :).
  • Videos on D3:
    • Knight Center D3 Course video playlists: I'll recommend some of Scott Murray's videos as backup or weekend viewing. (They don't seem to be well-indexed on YouTube, but start here. The code examples are here.
    • These intro videos seem good too:

JS Refreshers

  • These books on HTML/CSS and JS/JQuery are good:
  • A short recap:
  • A super simple intro with gif demos is JS For Cats:
  • Useful for your code style: Airbnb JS Style Guide
  • More online courses:

Debugging Help

  • Debugging with Dev Tools and D3:

Resources for Vis Examples

  • Pinterest: some boards to poke at - crawl out for more, including newspapers:

    • Mine/arnicas: the dumping ground:
    • Mine/arnicas: Some interactives pulled out more recently:
    • JanWillem Tulp:
    • Tiffany Farrant-Gonzalez:
    • Benjamin Wiederkehr:
    • Studio TERP Inforgraphics:
    • Scientific American:
    • WSJ Graphics:
    • Using pinterest from Chrome: Grab the plugins.
  • My delicious bookmarks - massive, sometimes useful, but noisy.

  • News graphics:

    • A spreadsheet:
    • Financial Times's use of D3 (examples):
    • Guardian and NYT graphics site:
  • Visualoop:

    • Article with pointers from Visualoop:
  • Sign up for the DashingD3 newsletter: Sign up for the DashingD3 newsletter if you haven't:

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