Past Meetup

Guest Lecture: A grammar of graphics for the web, without Javascript

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In what promises to be a thought-provoking appearance, Kevin and Ryan will discuss grammar-based approaches to visualization, and introduce their new tool Variance Charts (

As usual: doors at 6:30, lecture at 7, Q&A and socializing after.

Data visualization serves two primary roles: to facilitate analysis and to illustrate meaning for a larger audience. This latter task is well-suited to the expertise of a designer, yet data graphics tools are customarily biased towards the technician.

Is it possible to bring powerful data graphics tools to the product design process?

In this talk, we’ll share how our Variance charting framework integrates a powerful grammar of graphics with the web standard workflow.

Through examples, we’ll explore how embracing the traditional web HTML+CSS workflow (rather than fighting it with elaborate D3 code or embedded iframe schemes) allows one to more effectively prototype novel visualizations, test with users, make responsive choices, and combine visualizations with narrative text.

Embracing the existing web workflow shortens the time from idea to production-ready visualizations and empowers a wide range of people to create and use data graphics.

Ryan Lucas

An industrial designer by training, Ryan has 20 years of experience in human-centered product design. Among other things, he has designed a digital music service, a physical and digital event platform for sporting events, and an analytics interface for wind farms. When he’s not drinking coffee in front of a computer, you’ll find Ryan trying to coax steelhead out of Pacific Northwest rivers with a fly rod.

Kevin Lynagh

A physicist by training, Kevin's first data graphics were handwritten in PostScript.He has since moved onto the web, where has has built statistical interfaces for Harvard bioinformaticians, citation visualizations for hegemonic Dutch publishers, and geospatial tools for mercenary climatologists. Kevin is eight feet tall and rides a fixed gear bicycle made from fragments of stolen Tufte metal sculpture.