21 Everyday Visualisations

How do we use visualisation every day?

This post shows 21 common uses of data visualisation – things we possibly use without even thinking of them as visualisation.  It can be really helpful, if you’re visualising data, to notice the ways in which we incorporate meters, charts, tables and graphs into everyday life.

Those that have become so ingrained into everyday life are usually perfect examples of simplicity and effectiveness.


Calendar by Katy Warner

Weather Map

Weather Map by Ric James


Barometer by Adrian Scottow


Thermometer by Jay Williams


Clock by blue2likeyou


Speedometer by Nik Sibley

Google Map

Map by Google Maps

Traffic Lights

Traffic Lights by AlexNormand

London Bus Map

Bus Routes by bopuc

Green Man Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing by Chris Skoyles

Tube Map

Tube Map by MacKenzie London

Memory Status

Memory Status by jaysun093

Youtube Play Meter

Youtube Play Meter by smil

Rear Car Lights

Rear Lights by Jen Gallardo

Kitchen Scales

Kitchen Scales by Mark Allerton

Oven Gas Knobs

Gas Knobs Ben O’Bryan

Egg Timer

Egg Timer by notanartist

Radio Tuner

Radio Tuner by Anders Ljungberg

Graphic Equaliser

Graphic Equaliser by wblo

Bathroom Scales

Bathroom Scales by davidd

Battery Charging

Battery Charging by Lisa Jacobs

So what did I miss?

If there were any everyday items you would have included in the list, please feel free to let me know in the comments below…

When Function Trumps Form in Infographics

I’m a big fan of the notion of function over form in data visualisation and infographics.  Though often, particularly with regard to usage of the term ‘infographic’, it’s form that’s trumping function online.

This happens when design overwhelms visualisation making it less legible and effective.  Or when visualisation is chosen when there were other more appropriate methods of communication, or indeed, when no form of communication would have been preferable, i.e when there really was no story.  (Silence is often underrated!)

But when you get it right, like a good piece of music, everything has it’s place and complements the other parts.  The design is appealing, the visualisation enhances delivery…

… And Content Remains King!

Take for example, the following speech, which was later transformed into an illustration (underneath)

Watch the first video briefly…

Then watch the animated version…

These two videos were mentioned in a great presentation by Steve Woolgar at a conference called ‘Data Visualisation in the Age of Computerisation’ a couple of weeks ago.  Woolgar pointed out the comments under the Youtube video for the animation are largely focused on the content of the video, not the choice of illustration as a means of communication, or how the illustration is delivered.

Despite the lack of praise for the visualisation or design, on this occasion, these two processes have been executed perfectly.  They work in service of the content.  They are a means, not an end.

The greatest honour for visualisation may not be found in direct praise, but the reflected glory of the content it serves.

It’s a more subtle approach.  It’s like silver service.  When it’s done really well, you might not even notice.


Silence is Underrated

I once worked in a bank while I was a student, and as a ‘treat’ for agreeing to work overtime on a Saturday, we were allowed to listen to music while we counted the cash.  However, being mostly filled with young mothers, we had to endure Shania Twain on repeat.

My colleague – one of the few other guys in the team – turned to me at one point and said…

“Don’t you think silence is underrated?”

I laughed.  I’ve always remembered that moment vividly.

This definitely applies to the amount of online noise we are subjected to, and allow ourselves to be subjected to, daily – the vast amount of infographics very much included!

I’ll be doing a post shortly on filtering, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that tuning out for a while can be even more effective.  I could do with remembering that more often!