Flourish year in review 2020
Looking back at a year like no other
What a year it has been. People everywhere had their world turned upside down by coronavirus, and so it was at Flourish HQ. In a year when data graphics became more important than ever, we’ve worked hard to help hundreds of thousands of users from all over the world visualize a terrible crisis. But the year wasn’t all bad. It’s been exciting to watch the rapid growth of the Flourish community, and its endless creativity. And between all the COVID-related activity, we added lots of new features to help that community tell better data stories. We also welcomed some brilliant new team members. Let’s briefly walk down memory lane together…
Winter: the calm before the storm
In the beginning of 2020, things seemed fairly normal. We were still working from our London office, had just welcomed our newsrooms and support specialist Ilias and were busy finishing our no-code scrollytelling tool which we later made available to our Enterprise customers. We also improved many of our core templates, from custom popups in basic charts and hierarchy graphics to a “spotlight” mode in our photo slider.
- We published a Q&A with Code for Africa about a template they created using the Flourish SDK
- We chatted to Nightingale about new ways of telling stories with data
- We launched a rich library of Flourish help docs
Spring: corona chaos
In March, as the COVID crisis took hold, we scrambled to adapt to remote working amid school closures and an incredible surge in traffic, as readers around the world viewed Flourish charts and maps about coronavirus many billions of times. We also welcomed a new developer, Bobby, and improved templates ranging from scatter plots to quizzes.
- We launched a collection of live COVID-19 visualizations for anyone to embed
- We created a growth comparison template for visualizing exponential growth
- We introduced a changelog to help users keep up with the things we improve in Flourish every week
Summer: heatmaps, live data and 3D maps
In summer, we didn’t really have anywhere to go thanks to travel restrictions, so we shipped new features instead! We launched our heatmap template and support for live data (expedited to help the world’s journalists with COVID charts). We started rolling out new drag-and-drop annotations and launched support for GeoJSON regions in our high-performance WebGL-based 3D maps. We also welcomed Allan and Emma to the commercial team to work across key customer accounts and new business.
- We wrote a blog post announcing the heatmap template
- We made it possible to create live visualizations from an online CSV or Google Sheet
- We added a help doc on creating animated map stories
Autumn: folders, annotations and accessibility
Come September, we felt the need to get organized and added a frequently requested feature to the Flourish platform: folders! We improved the filters, controls and labelling in basic charts, as well as adding a new area mode: streamgraphs. We also released radar charts, continued to roll out annotations and implemented screen reader settings. We welcomed visualization consultant Lyndsey to the team, as well as interns Annie and Olivia.
- From today, you can organize your Flourish projects into folders
- You can now add regions to your high-performance WebGL-based data maps
- Make explorable and animated charts with our new filters and controls
- Streamgraphs: how to make them and what you need to know
- Stop hesitating, start annotating
- Mapping the US presidential election
- New screen-reader settings to make your visualizations more accessible
With the end of 2020 in sight, we’re beyond ready to wind down for a much-needed break and reflect on a heartbreaking yet productive year. Thank you so much for all your ideas and feedback and for all the incredible visualizations and stories you’ve created. We’re looking forward to what will hopefully be a much brighter year for everyone. See you in 2021!