If you are a business owner, or working in the corporate world, you may be familiar with data visualization and popular tools like PowerPoint or Excel. You also may have realized that, while these tools are useful, they often don’t offer much freedom for user creativity, control and automated reproducibility.
“Tools that I control”
As a developer and designer, Anthony Starks suffered from these same limitations, so he began creating his own tools for data visualization. His creations, SVGo (SVG generation), deck/decksh (a markup and domain-specific languages for information displays and presentations), and dchart (a charting package built in deck), were so effective at removing these limitations that he continues expanding their uses and capabilities.
“We have a modern megaphone”
Anthony started replicating the historic, pioneering data visualizations that W.E.B. Du Bois created for the Paris Exposition of 1900. These pieces represented Black history in America and the progression of African Americans after emancipation. While Du Bois’s data visualizations were so impactful in the 1900’s, many people today do not know that he was a pioneer of using data visualization for activism. Anthony, along with collaborators in the data visualization community, continues W.E.B Du Bois’s legacy by using modern data visualization tools to replicate the hand-drawn “data portraits” pioneered by Du Bois and his team of students. Anthony also creates Duboisian visualizations of data describing the life of Black people in America today.
“Can I build presentations that look good, look better than PowerPoint?”
Gain access to the Civic Hacker Summit Archive to really dive into the technical aspects of using Anthony’s data visualization tools and how to participate in the Du Bois Challenge. We can all become empowered to use data to initiate social change. Showing us the way, the Civic Hacker Summit Archive contains over 50 videos with changemakers who share, teach, and inspire!
Taking Control of Data Tools and Narratives
After experiencing many creative limitations when using popular tools like PowerPoint or Excel, Anthony Starks used his skills in design and development to create his own tools for visualization: SVGo (SVG generation), deck/decksh (a markup and domain-specific languages for information displays and presentations), and dchart (a charting package built in deck). In addition to providing users more functionality, Anthony started using these tools for activism by replicating W.E.B. Du Bois’s hand-drawn visualizations that depicted Black history and progress after emancipation in the United States. In his Civic Hacker Summit Interview, Anthony teaches us how to use his tools or create your own charts and infographics. Anthony reminds us of the importance of W.E.B. Du Bois’s pioneering work, and inspires us to continue using modern data to push for change.