Sébastien Pierre

Originally from France, Sébastien has a background in software engineering and design, which led him to create award-winning information design studio FFunction in 2008. He speaks regularly at national and international conferences on information design and open data.

Data APIs, design, and visual storytelling

One example of how using a data API can lead to better visualizations.

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Over the past five years, international agencies such as the World Bank, OECD, and UNESCO have created portals to make their data available for everyone to explore. Many non-profits are also visualizing masses of data in the hope that it will give policymakers, funders, and the general public a better understanding of the issues they are trying to solve.

Data visualization plays a key role in telling the stories behind the data. For most audiences, data sets are hard to use and interpret — the average user will need a technical guide just to navigate through the complicated hierarchies of categories let alone interpret the information. But data visualizations trigger interest and insight because they are immediate, clear, and tangible.

At FFunction, we visualize a lot of data. Most of the time our clients send us Excel spreadsheets or CSV files, so we were happily surprised when we started to work with UNESCO Institute for Statistics on two fascinating education-related projects — Out-of-School Children and Left Behind — and realized that they had been working on a data API. As we began to work through the data ourselves, we uncovered several reasons why using an API helps immeasurably with data visualization. Read more…

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Visualization deconstructed: Mapping Facebook's friendships

A deep look at Paul Butler's popular Facebook visualization.

Paul Butler's visualization of Facebook friendships turned a lot of heads recently, and rightfully so. It shows a fascinating connection between virtual relationships and the physical world.

Comments: 6

Visualization deconstructed: Mapping Facebook’s friendships

A deep look at Paul Butler's popular Facebook visualization.

Paul Butler's visualization of Facebook friendships turned a lot of heads recently, and rightfully so. It shows a fascinating connection between virtual relationships and the physical world.

Comments: 6

Visualization deconstructed: New York Times "Mapping America"

A look at what works in a census visualization.

In this first post in a new series on data visualization, Sébastien Pierre takes a close look at the New York Times' "Mapping America" interactive census map.

Comments: 7

Visualization deconstructed: New York Times “Mapping America”

A look at what works in a census visualization.

In this first post in a new series on data visualization, Sébastien Pierre takes a close look at the New York Times' "Mapping America" interactive census map.

Comments: 7