AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



Susan Kistler on Data Visualization

My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. An avid interest of mine is in data visualization – how to make data more accessible through graphical representation. Please note, the following represents my own interests and not an endorsement by AEA.

Hot Tip: Periodic Table of Visualization Methods: Stuck in a rut visualizing your data? Making so many pie charts you might as well be cooking Thanksgiving dinner? Check out the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for great ideas on ways to visualize data. It offers approximately 100 examples of data visualization options, arranged thematically as a periodic table. Warning: a printed version doesn’t do this justice. Play with it online where you can mouse-over each cell in the periodic table and see an example to get the juices flowing. Also, you may want to look at the research behind it all via this academic paper about the Development of the Periodic Table: And for the resources? Four websites for data visualization inspiration:

Rad Resource: FlowingData (Strength in Numbers): Great examples of data visualization from the author, Nathan Yau, a PhD statistics student with a background in design. He also compiles other data visualization resources and encourages sharing and open-source.

Rad Resource: Information Aesthetics (Where form follows data.): Maintained by Andrew Vande Moere at the University of Sydney, this site ‘collects projects that represent data or information in original or intriguing ways.’ His examples veer wildly from mapping the impact of global warming to a tour of the brain to stitching travel itineraries on postcards – food for thought!

Rad Resource: Visual Complexity: Focusing on visualizing complex networks, this site archives and annotates projects from around the world that use systems visualization tools. ‘the project’s main goal is to leverage a critical understanding of different visualization methods, across a series of disciplines, as diverse as Biology, Social Networks or the World Wide Web.’ Enjoy!


  • Susan Kistler on Learning From DVR Innovation · AEA365 · June 29, 2013 at 10:34 am

    […] Visualization and Reporting (DVR) is near and dear to my heart. The very first post that I wrote for aea365 was on Data Visualization back on January 2, 2010. I am honored that I get to complete up my weekly […]


  • Dusty McEwen · August 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm


  • Dusty McEwen · August 1, 2011 at 10:12 am

    For great interactive data visualization displaying world trends, check out the Gapminder webiste. You can create your own graphs using their data at



  • Marty Henry · July 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Graphics used by the Washington Post and the New York Times, such as found at the site allow the reader to quickly get the overall picture and to dig deeper for more detail. These interactive data displays hold more information than can be obtained through static graphic displays commonly used.

    Marty Henry


  • Susan Kistler on Data Visualization Part II | AEA365 · September 5, 2010 at 9:20 am

    […] visualization – representing data in ways that are accurate, accessible, and appealing. My very first aea365 post identified resources for those with interests in data visualization – including the classic […]


  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · July 27, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I LOVE GOOD. My local bookstore stopped carrying it and I thought that perhaps they had gone to online-only (frankly, it’s difficult conceptually to reconcile their progressive/green messaging with a magazine printed on beautiful heavy stock so I’m waiting for the untimely demise of the print version).

    Their information graphics consistently make me think – and critique (some are definitely much better than others both in terms of making people care about the data as well as in terms of accuracy of portrayal). Great for inspiration.


  • Susan Sloan · July 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Susan, another great 365 post! Being a visual learner and subscriber to Good Magazine, I would suggest that AEA members check out the incredible data visualizations that Good and Good readers put together every month. Here’s the link to the magazine: And here’s a link to an “Infographic” on “Who Has Given the Most to Haiti”: Here’s another on “The Rise of Walking and Biking”: Under “Fun Stuff” on their web site, just go to Infographics for many, many more.


  • Susan Kistler on Data, Art, and Representation | AEA365 · July 24, 2010 at 3:02 am

    […] post. I love finding ways to make data understandable and useful. My very first aea365 post was on Data Visualization and I gave a presentation at the 2010 AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Institute on the Democratization of […]


  • Admin comment by Susan Kistler · January 6, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Michael, I’ll email you, but perhaps we might put together a session on data visualization for the 2010 conference?

    Others with interest?


  • Michael Ross · January 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Susan, I’ve been following and assimilating DataViz thinking for the past five plus years. I have an exhaustive set of links, contacts, and literature on this topic. I’d love to collaborate with you and any others interested in this virtually exploding field in any fashion that is appropriate.
    How would you suggest I and we best proceed? Please contact we directly if we should first chat offline.


  • Jara Dean-Coffey · January 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm


    I am so adding your list of links to the must read and incorporate for 2010. Looking forward to the first opportunity to do some analysis. Thanks!


  • Tweets that mention Susan Kistler on data visualization - AEA365 -- · January 3, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Evaluation Headlines, Charles Gasper. Charles Gasper said: RT @aeaweb S Kistler on data visualization resources 1/2 contributor to aea365 blog – aea365, great ideas/resources commin […]


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