In many ways, this year felt like an extension of the previous one, due to a pandemic that continued to dominate lives around the globe. In that context, it’s no surprise that COVID remained a key visualization topic for the ever-growing Flourish community, along with other big themes such as climate, politics and the Olympics. Flourish the company also saw a lot of growth: the team almost doubled in size since January, as did the number of business customers. Let’s take a moment to look back over the year, starting with a few top-level community numbers.
At the start of the year, our team was still remote and under lockdown rules. With the pandemic requiring an ever-greater amount of information to be presented, we launched popup panels to help our users tell richer data stories. Seeking distraction and inspiration from seminal data visualizers, we also launched our first “Masters series” blog post.
More product improvements ✨
- We shipped several improvements for our business customers, including custom fonts in stories, enforceable multi-factor authentication and republication approvals
- Our “3D map” template became much more powerful through raster tile support, annotations, a heatmap mode and new animations
- We introduced improvements such as shading between lines in our “Line, bar, pie” template
- It became possible to use public data files from Dropbox with our Live CSV feature
In the spring we introduced some chart accessibility guidelines and also made our editor more accessible by adding improved keyboard navigation. We opened our “Tea Break” webinar series to the whole community and enhanced our maps with a host of new features. On our blog, we took a deep-dive into visualizing local elections and celebrated the arrival of two new mini templates: “Number ticker” and “Countdown”.
More product improvements 🌤️
- We added new styles, an aspect ratio mode and filtering to “Slope charts”
- The “Scatter” template got alignment and styling for labels
- We allowed you to color your “Radar” visualizations by a category
- Our “Sankey” template received filtering capabilities and a setting for adding node headings
- We added popup panels and improved filtering to our “Cards” template
Over the summer, the global news cycle started to become more varied again, with several sports events making headlines, most notably the Tokyo Olympics. To celebrate, we launched a new “Sports race” template and wrote posts about visualizing both the Olympics and the Euros. We also launched our popular “Pictogram” template, and – after 18 months of working from home – moved into a lovely new office space in Shoreditch, London’s tech capital.
More product improvements 😎
- We added a new visualization type, the Waterfall chart, to our “Line, bar, pie” template
- Our “Quiz” was enhanced with support for HTML inputs, making it possible to display images as questions
- We published a simple five-step guide to data visualization
- We recreated some of the IPCC’s climate charts and drew lessons on how charts can help us communicate effectively
- We added a new “reveal” mode to our “Line chart race” template
- We made it possible to download GeoJSON files directly from your data tab
- The “Slope chart” template received improved labelling with automatic overlap prevention, connector lines and richer styling settings
After a summer full of weather extremes, and with world leaders converging on Scotland for the COP26 conference, climate became a key visualization topic for the community. On the blog, we wrote about the strengths and weaknesses of different chart types. And we introduced two new templates: “Gantt chart” and “Word cloud”. Finally, we unveiled a brand-new training series for our business and enterprise customers.
More product improvements 📊
- The latest “Masters series” focused on the visualization legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois
- By popular demand, we launched a repository of GeoJSON files for making custom maps
- It became possible to set Flourish stories to autoplay on load
- We added a thumbnail feature that lets you access a static image of any published visualization on a fixed URL
- We improved Flourish’s data merging feature
One final thing to celebrate: in 2021 we welcomed 21 new amazing team members, each of whom have helped shape Flourish’s evolution.
With the end of the year in sight, we’re ready to wind down for a much-needed break. Thank you so much for all your ideas and feedback this year – and for all the incredible visualizations and stories you’ve created. We can’t wait to see what you make in 2022!