1st Edition

Data Visualization for People of All Ages

By Nancy Organ Copyright 2024
    332 Pages 293 Color & 47 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    332 Pages 293 Color & 47 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    260 Pages 293 Color & 47 B/W Illustrations
    by A K Peters/CRC Press

    Also available as eBook on:

    Data visualization is the art and science of making information visible. On paper and in our imaginations, it’s a language of shapes and colors that holds our best ideas and most important questions. As we find ourselves swimming in data of all kinds, visualization can help us to understand, express, and explore the richness of the world around us. No matter your age or background, this book opens the door to new ways of thinking and sharing through the power of data visualization.

    Data Visualization for People of All Ages is a field guide to visual literacy, born from the author’s personal experience working with world-class scholars, engineers, and scientists. By walking through the different ways of showing data—including color, angle, position, and length—you’ll learn how charts and graphs truly work so that no visualization is ever a mystery or out of reach. It doesn’t stop at what fits on a page, either. You’ll journey into cutting-edge topics like data sonification and data physicalization, using sound and touch to share data across the different senses. Packed with practical examples and exercises to help you connect the dots, this book will teach you how to create and understand data visualizations on your own—all without writing a single line of code or getting tangled up in software.

    Written with accessibility in mind, this book invites everyone to the table to share the joy of one of today’s most necessary skills. Perfect for home or classroom use, this friendly companion gives people of all ages everything they need to start visualizing with confidence.

    Chapter 1: What is data?

    Chapter 2: What is data visualization?

    Chapter 3: Length and height

    Chapter 4: Size and area

    Chapter 5: Position

    Chapter 6: Color for categorical data

    Chapter 7: Color for numerical data

    Chapter 8: Color for ordinal data

    Chapter 9: Shapes and patterns

    Chapter 10: Making colorblind-friendly visualizations

    Chapter 11: Angle

    Chapter 12: Connections and networks

    Chapter 13: Visualization whoopsies

    Chapter 14: Sound and touch

    Chapter 15: Wrapping up

    A1 – Glossary of words

    A2 – Glossary of graphs

    A3 – Solutions guide


    Nancy Organ is a Seattle-based data visualization professional with experience in research, education, and tech, including contributions at Microsoft and the University of Washington. She holds a degree in Statistics from the University of California, Berkeley. Endeavoring to make visualization accessible, fun, and empowering for young people and adults alike, she packs nearly a decade of visualization design experience into one light-hearted book.

    "In today's world, we have to read charts every day — don't worry, Nancy's got your kid's back. She guides them through it all, from the basics to advanced dataviz techniques. This is a staple in every classroom and the perfect gift for a curious young mind!"
    --Alli Torban, Information Design Consultant and host of the Data Viz Today podcast.


    "This book perfectly presents the essentials of data viz for literally anyone - young students, working professionals, and even skilled practitioners. So well done on every level. Thank you, Nancy!"
    --Mike Pell, Director of The Microsoft Garage - NYC, Author.


    "Data Visualization for All Ages strikes the perfect balance between welcoming and informative. With a conversational tone—and a memorable cast of classmates—it lays out core data literacy principles in an accessible way, all bolstered by Nancy's rigorous research and industry experience. Most importantly, the book promotes playful experimentation while cautioning against common pitfalls; I'm thrilled for all the young (and older!) readers who will grow up with it!"
    --Shirley Wu, award winning visualization creator and co-author of Data Sketches.


    "Learning about data is critical to navigating the world today - and the earlier we start understanding the language of data and charts, the better. In this book, Nancy covers many foundational topics necessary to work with data and then goes deeper, using a memorable cast of characters and scenarios to put concepts and ideas into practice in a way that will be widely accessible. Rather than shying away from what may be considered complex concepts, she spends a full chapter on the accessibility challenges of color in visualization and explores complex chart types like Sankeys, chord diagrams, and network maps (to name a few) that will help get readers excited about the creativity and many design approaches we take in data visualization. While the book may have started with the ambition of creating a primer for young people on data visualization, I would recommend it across ages for those looking for an accessible and fun introduction to the world of data."
    --Amanda Makulec, Executive Director / Data Visualization Society.


    "For fifty years I have struggled with data visualization because of color blindness (and I am not alone because it impacts approximately 10% of all men).  Then I start reading this book and I realize I am having no problem seeing the data at all.  But I couldn’t figure out why... until I got to Chapter 10.  The guidelines in this book are invaluable, but Chapter 10 by itself is priceless."
    --Dr. Loren Marshall, retired gastroenterologist, and Nancy's colorblind uncle.


    "Understanding and communicating with data are two of the key skills of the modern age. This important book focuses on what people should know to do both. Rather than getting bogged down with extensive theoretical underpinnings or jumping immediately to overly focused case studies about particular tools or code libraries, this book provides a great guide to these important topics at just the right level. It clearly shows the needs for these skills, the foundational principles, and provides engaging examples and exercises throughout the book. Highly recommended!"
    --Steven Drucker, Partner and Research Manager of the Visualization and Interactive Data Analysis (VIDA) Group at Microsoft Research.

    "Nancy's book is a captivating exploration of the elegance of data visualization, skillfully blending modern concepts and design practices. While the book doesn’t shy away from nuance and complexity, it is remarkably clear and approachable, making the journey not just informative but also immensely enjoyable."
    --Dominik Moritz, Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University and Machine Learning researcher