Episode 12: How to Encourage Exploration Without Interactivity - Featured Data Viz by Krisztina Szucs

Krisztina Szucs. Image via her website.

Krisztina Szucs. Image via her website.


Welcome to episode 12 of Data Viz Today. How can you encourage a reader to explore your data visualization without adding any interactivity? Host Alli Torban dives into specific ways to make an exploratory static data viz - no coding necessary! Featured viz by Krisztina Szucs models how to encourage exploration by visualizing the rating and profit of past box office hits.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Google PodcastsStitcher, SoundCloud & Spotify.

"Spotlight on Profitability" by Krisztina Szucs. Image via her website.

  • Welcome! I'm Alli Torban.

  • 00:25 - Two announcements: Follow me on Instragram for fun behind-the-scenes stuff! And I’ll be launching a free mini-course this week on how to create and embed an interactive heat map so sign up for my newsletter to hear about its release!

  • 01:00 - Today we’re diving into the question “How can you encourage a reader to explore your data visualization without adding any interactivity?”

  • 02:12 - Featured viz:  “Spotlight on Profitability” by Krisztina Szucs

  • 02:30 - Krisztina is a Data Visualization designer coming from the field of Graphic Design based in Budapest, Hungary.

  • 03:45 - She always starts with a basic chart and makes sure it makes sense that way, and then adds more design elements. Check out the GIF of Krisztina’s design process!

  • 05:10 - Tools used Excel and Adobe Illustrator (she didn’t let her lack of tool knowledge stop her from creating!)

  • 06:55 - So how can we recreate this? How can we make an exploratory viz without relying on interactivity?

  • 07:25 - Tips from the book “Data Driven Storytelling” that just came out edited by Nathalie Henry Riche on exploratory viz:

    • Pros - you give the reader the power to ask their own questions and find their own answers. Personalize their reading experience. It can also help communicate the complexity of the data and mitigate some of the biases thats inherent when you provide the narrative.

    • Cons - especially in a static viz, it requires a lot of time and attention from a reader, which they may not be willing to invest. It also requires a lot of design effort, so it’s important to consider your audience - will your effort be worth the amount of effort your audience is willing to part with.

    • Consider giving the reader flexibility over the view, focus or sequence of the story.

    • View - is the ways in which the data is shown to the reader

    • Focus - is the subject of the story - the particular subset data shown

    • Sequence - is the order in which the information in the story can be viewed.

  • 09:45 - How Krisztina executes these three things in her viz

  • 11:00 -  For my inspired viz, I wanted to try to put all these ideas into practice, the idea of allowing flexibility in the view, focus and sequence. I wanted to emulate the 3 different relationships like I mentioned in Krisztina’s viz. One variable on the first line, the angles between that value and the variable on the other line, and the difference between the second variable. I immediately thought about balancing the different attributes of a restaurant when you’re deciding where to go to eat. You want to know the cuisine, you want to know the price range, the food rating, how’s the ambiance, do they take reservations.

My inspired viz / experiment. Would be interesting to do this with a much bigger sample size!


  • 12:37 - I hand-drew this viz - no fancy tools! :)

  • 13:00 - My final takeaway: while it’s amazing what we can do right now with code and interactivity, it’s interesting to take away the interactivity and think about how we can encourage exploration in a static viz. Try giving the reader flexibility in the view, focus or sequence. Also try freeing yourself of your tools, OR stop thinking about your lack of tools as a roadblock to creating cool dataviz.

  • 13:30 - Krisztina’s advice for a designer just starting out:

  • 13:55 - Try Krisztina’s project www.plotparade.com

  • 14:12 - Krisztina’s website and follower her on Twitter!

  • 14:40 - Sign up for my newsletter for weekly tips and details about my heat map mini-course coming out this week!