Judy Siegel is a senior user experience designer at CNN Digital in Atlanta. She had a chance to sit down with Trina Chiasson, 2013-2014 Reynolds Fellow and co-founder/CEO of Infoactive, at the 2013 SND conference in Louisville, Ky.

Trina ChiassonJS: Tell us a little about your background and how you got interested in data visualization. How did you arrive at your idea for Infoactive?

TC: I live at the intersection of visual media and technology. I like designing digital things, writing code, and organizing web projects. Before starting Infoactive, I coordinated nonprofit online media campaigns, both as an employee and a freelancer.

The nonprofits that I worked with had a lot of data about their social impact, but packaging that data for progress reports and other funding-related activities was always a challenge. I spent a lot of time trying to find an efficient process for working with constantly changing data streams in Excel and Adobe Illustrator. The problem was that most data tools weren’t built for design, and most design tools weren’t built for data. I hacked my own painful processes for turning data into nicely designed visualizations for branded reports, but I was always looking for a more efficient (and more Web-friendly) solution.

I always enjoyed visual storytelling, and I was inspired by some of the infographics that I had seen on the Web. When I first started playing with JavaScript, I decided to make an interactive infographic as a fun side project to help me learn. As time went on, I began thinking more and more about what it would take to build an easy-to-use tool for creating these graphics. The more I talked to people about it, the more I realized that there was a huge demand for it.

Now I’m the co-founder/CEO of Infoactive, and a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. I have a small team of smart people working hard to turn our idea into a product that people love. As a Reynolds Fellow, I’m also doing research on how newsrooms use data visualizations, and how Infoactive can help newsrooms tell stories with data.

View the full post on SND


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