Quick & Dirty Charts
Quartz, the innovative news site recently released a great tool for the public called Chartbuilder. The creator, David Yanofsky, announces the library.
If you blog or need to create Presentations, it's a great charting tool for non-technical users that need simple charts. It's much simpler to create than MS Office tools but doesn't come close to replacing it.
While it's too simple to be a great tool, it will assist in providing more sensible data visualizations than the nearly useless pie charts or 3D versions of other chart types you see on news sites.
There's a public version available for use or you can use it locally. I would like to see improvements to it after being open-sourced and would like to modify the tool to my liking since it uses D3.js.
Setting it up locally is super easy.
Here are two charts I created quickly.
Issues with Chartbuilder
- You have to refresh the page often if you are changing chart types, data or attributes.
- The image and SVG tend to produce odd export dimensions, either getting cut off or producing too much white-space.
- It's difficult to control with large data sets. It's great for small manageable data.
- The chart doesn't expand or contract based on data so labels collide. Additionally the site layout doesn't allow the left panel to scroll potentially rendering it un-useable on small screens.
- The script obviously isn't accounting for certain customizations and the controllable attributes are limited.
Since this tool uses D3.js it's totally possible to fix these bugs and missing features. I look forward to the challenge of fixing bugs and adding functionality.