Many Eyes

Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns.

Manyeyes Logo Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations now, take a tour , or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.

All of us in CUE 's Visual Communication Lab are passionate about the potential of data visualization to spark insight. It is that magical moment we live for: an unwieldy, unyielding data set is transformed into an image on the screen, and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected pattern. As visualization designers we have witnessed and experienced many of those wondrous sparks. But in recent years, we have become acutely aware that the visualizations and the sparks they generate, take on new value in a social setting. Visualization is a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about data.

We all deal with data that we'd like to understand better. It may be as straightforward as a sales spreadsheet or fantasy football stats chart, or as vague as a cluttered email inbox. But a remarkable amount of it has social meaning beyond ourselves. When we share it and discuss it, we understand it in new ways.

A bit of history

In 2003, Fernanda created a program to visualize an individual's email archives. Given the personal nature of email, when she ran a study on the visualization she took great pains to ensure that each person's visualization would be completely private. But to her surprise, many of the study participants immediately sought out ways to share the images, mailing screenshots around or just calling friends over to see the program in action. This experiment revealed the intensely social side of visualizations, where discussion and storytelling are just as important as data analysis.

The next year, Martin wrote a program to visualize historical baby name popularity. It became a minor internet fad, but what was most interesting was the discussions that it sparked. In venues ranging from blogs to a forum on a well-known political magazine, thousands of people used the visualization as a starting point for conversations that were sometimes playful, sometimes intensely analytical. Each brought a distinctive perspective to the data, from a knowledge of political history to a simple search for their own name.

Inspired by these experiences, the Visual Communication Lab embarked on a project to encourage sharing and conversation around visualizations. We believe that visualizations gain power when multiple people use them to communicate, and that communication gains power when multiple people can visualize and explore information together. We want to democratize visualization, enabling anyone on the internet to publish powerful interactive visualizations and start their own data conversations. Many Eyes is designed to bring that power to you.

Team Members

Visit our people page to learn more about the team.

Contributors

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