Information Aesthetics has a nice interview with Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. After working for years at the IBM Visual Communication Lab, they’ve gone out on their own and founded a new data visualization firm, Flowing Media.
Their work is a inspiring mix of smart thinking and clever communication about the data being presented, allowing people to gain new insights into the content. And although their work tends to be primarially focused on data visualization, rather than interactivity, they have created a couple remarkable interactive works.
Their 1998 visualization of the stock market, SmartMoney’s Map of the Market, was a groundbreaking view into the relationships between stocks, industries, and markets. It was the first web use of a treemap — and led to a mini-trend of such treemaps. (Look here for some others.) Web Seer (2010) is a recent tool that lets you compare two Google Suggest queries. And their Name Voyager (2005) was a simple, but addictive, look at historical trends in naming babies. (And look at Name Mapper to see geographic relationships for names.)
I’m looking forward to see what comes next from them.