I wanted to share news of an upcoming project that I've been working on for far too long but finally will be able to launch in the coming few weeks: The Chartmaker Directory. I feel like I've been previewing this project for ages now, largely in my training sessions, with a sincere but often unrealistic claim of 'coming soon...' but now it GENUINELY is coming soon.

The Chartmaker Directory will be a resource to both gather and share knowledge about which tools can make which charts and which charts can be made in which tools. This insight is unquestionably the basis of the most recurring enquiries I receive from delegates and students. Indeed, it is the question to which I personally also constantly seek answers.

The basic structure (at least for the desktop view) will involve a simple matrix listing tools across the top and chart types down the side. At the intersecting cells will be links to examples and/or tutorials for how to create that chart using that tool. It needs to be more than a matrix of 'YES' and 'NO' so, at a minimum, it will collate examples that reveal it is possible to create a chart in a given tool. Beyond that, my primary focus will be to source 'how to' tutorials (like this, or this) so people who are keen to make such charts can look to actually recreate themselves.

Though I will be compiling and contributing examples and tutorials myself, the main source of the content will likely (and hopefully) be sourced from the visualisation hive mind. I don't know how to use all the 300+ tools, I have some tricks in different tools but I don't know all the workarounds. Hundreds of you out there do. Therefore, I will be including a simple submission process enabling potential contributors to propose examples/tutorials for each tool-chart combination. Contributors of these examples/tutorials and the authors (if not the same person) will be acknowledged in some visual way to applaud their efforts and to earn kudos from the field at large, though I've not yet decided on my preferred way of doing this visually just yet.

Vendors will be just as welcome to contribute example/tutorial entries as anyone else but this will not be pushed a tool buyer's guide: it will not be to imply how great one tool is or how limited another is. It is simply a directory to help you know what is possible, both in terms of a tool's default charting capabilities but, perhaps more interestingly, those charts that can be made with a little workaround/thinking outside the box.


In other news, I will be launching a new design of my website later in the summer. It will be three years this September since the most recent iteration which was a big leap forward. As ever, there are always ways to improve things from the basic lick of paint to tidy up the appearance but also to create a more accessible design to enable content to be easily consumed across all modern platforms, which I don't think it does quite well enough. Watch this space, again, genuinely coming soon. Ish.


The little of visualisation design: Part 37
Best of the visualisation web... March 2017