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January 14, 2013

And the winner of the VizWiz Electric City redesign contest is…


John Matyskiel of Ontario, Canada! 

The participants were asked to redesign this viz.  The instructions were intentionally vague and I also intentionally chose a data set that had a few problems.  There were several outstanding entries, for which I’ll highlight a few of my favorites below.

We must start with John’s winning entry, which he built with Adobe Illustrator. 


John Matyskiel

Download a PDF version here to view at full size.

What set John apart from the others was his use of story telling.  I felt like I really learned something after reading John’s work.  Even though I‘m not typically a big fan of stacked bar charts, John’s work for me because visually the bars are asking me to compare travel methods across an individual city, not down the chart.  John makes good use of colors too, keeping travel methods within the same categories in the same color palette.  If I had to pick one thing to improve, it would be to make the gridlines lighter.

For his efforts, John will receive a super warm Facebook hoodie.  I suppose he might need it up in Canada.



Robin Kennedy of The Information Lab in the UK submitted this interactive version built with Tableau.  Click on a City to see the Travel Methods update.  Then click on a Travel Method and see the Country comparisons update.  What’s really neat is how Robin uses different shapes depending on the Travel Method you select.  Try it.


Kalpana Behara submitted this great hand-drawn viz all the way from India (click it to see a larger view).  She’s a cartoonist and a Manchester United fan, but I didn’t count her loyalties against her.  I love the cross-tab view, the good use of colors to categorize the data, and the choice to use a lollipop chart, which emphasize precision (dots) over length (bars).  Her design also makes it easy to see where there are holes in the data.

I’m not sure if Kalpana is trying to tell me something, but there’s a hidden devil on the page.  Subtle indeed…


Kalpana Behara


Tableau Zen Master Joe Mako submitted this simple and clean design built in Tableau.  Needless to say, for anyone that knows Joe, he did a great job of using colors, particularly the shading within categories and is an overall good technical re-design.  What sets John apart from Joe is his story telling.


Joe Mako


Jon Schwabish’s entry was also built with Adobe Illustrator and it’s very similar to Joe Mako’s, except it takes up much more space.  I like how the color of the headers correspond to the colors of the bars. That’s a nice visual cue.  Jon also added some very helpful text.

Jon Schwabish


Thank you to all of those that entered! It was a lot of fun reviewing each submission.  I was amazed at how different people can look at the same data.

And again, congratulations to John Matyskiel!  You’re sweatshirt is on the way.


  1. RE: Robin's may want to toss in a selection parameter in the bottom lollipop chart have the use select the mode of transport that's displayed by country.

  2. Pls tell me where you got the facebook hoodie from

  3. Where did you get the hoodie from??