Data visualization and storytelling


Flourish year in review 2019


It’s been a busy year at Flourish HQ! We’ve launched several new templates, made countless improvements to existing templates and added four big new platform features. We’ve also welcomed some wonderful new team members and – more importantly – a huge number of new users. So as we step back to look at the year that was, instead of just talking about what we did, I’ll also show you some of the things you made with Flourish in 2019…

Winter: voices and versioning

The first big launch in 2019 was “Talkies”: audio-driven, interactive data stories. Since then, users have made Talkies in more languages than we’ve been able to keep track of – from Catalan to Indonesian. A couple of weeks after that, we also added the 3D Region Map template. On the developer side, we introduced a major improvement to the way Flourish templates are versioned, making it easier for developers – including our own team – to seamlessly fix bugs and add features.


Spring: races and tables

Like any other industry or discipline, data visualization sees its fair share of trends, but in recent years none has captured this specific zeitgeist as fully (and as rabidly) as the bar chart race. What started with a viral video at the end of February quickly became an industry-wide obsession by March, which is when we decided to join the party and build our own template. Amid the bar-race springtime madness, we also launched another more sober template, the Table, which has quickly become a user favorite. We also added quite a few platform features, like new fonts, customer themes/branding, and a completely redesigned projects page.


Summer: dozens of small improvements

Ah summer, that beautiful time of year when evenings get longer, working days get shorter, and professional productivity slows to what I’ll choose to call a leisurely pace. Here at Flourish the only thing we enjoy more than British summer and those three weeks in early August when people stop carrying a light jacket everywhere is the satisfaction of making small tweaks to templates which make our users’ experience better. And that’s exactly what we did for most of the summer! From our renamed Line Chart Race template and to captions in the Bar Chart Race, to images in the Table template and animated Sankey Diagrams, to arrow plots in our Scatter template and monochrome base maps in our 3D Map template, the story of this summer was one of small but mighty improvements.


Autumn: cards, points and data transforms

With summer over, the team started playing around with lots of new ideas and experimenting with new things. In September, Sky News used Flourish to build a scrollytelling feature into one of their articles – something we’d designed into Flourish but never formally launched. We added two brand new templates – the Point map and Cards – as well as a whole host of new modes and features to others, such as dual-axis modes in the Line, Bar,Pie template. At the same time, we rolled out our first data transformation feature – “unpivoting” – and made some small but much needed design changes to the settings panel. Ahead of Spain’s general election in November, we published our first non-English blog post.


Winter (again!) and beyond…

With the end of 2019 in sight, we launched two things which give a hint of the year to come. First, we overhauled our the Scatter template template with new chart modes (beeswarms and violin plots) and a WebGL renderer suitable for much larger data sets. And then we used the UK general election in December to test-drive our new in-app live-data features. We’ll be talking more about this in 2020. And about data processing. And scrollytelling. And column types. And themes. And much more. But for now we’re winding down for a much-needed break. We hope you’re doing the same. Happy holidays and see you on the other side!