Portfolio — VizSweet

In 2015 I started working with Information is Beautiful as Technical Director to develop VizSweet, a high-end data visualisation tool — and for the last eight years, we’ve been making something amazing.

IIB founder David McCandless is an influential figure in the data-viz scene, marrying a love of data and design with a journalistic approach to storytelling. David’s aim with VizSweet was to bottle that insight, creating a tool that could simplify the painstaking process of turning data into something beautiful, meaningful and accessible.

As Technical Director, I led a small team of designers and developers to turn VizSweet from a pencil sketch into a fully functional web-app that’s created visualisations with tens of millions of views. It’s been a privilege to work with such a talented bunch as we’ve scoped, wireframed, designed, developed and tested such a complex product.

When you’re building a SaaS product nothing is every truly finished, but VizSweet has developed into an incredible tool — one that can turn a spreadsheet into a fully featured visualisation with a couple of clicks, and then lets editors dive into deep customisation, where everything from data mapping to legends to drop shadows can be tweaked, and then the whole viz can be published or exported.

As well as commercial clients, VizSweet gets lots of internal use at IIB too — a practice that’s charmingly referred to as “eating your own dogfood“. Here’s a small sample of the pieces that David has created with it (and there are plenty more to browse on the IIB site).

Data Breaches
Most Successful Movies
World Population

Working on VizSweet has been an amazing opportunity: fascinating, challenging and rewarding. I’ve learnt a huge amount from working with David and the team, and the opportunity to work on a single product from beginning to end has been a great experience.

But, as of early 2024 I’m stepping back from VizSweet to return to freelancing. I’ll be returning to David and the team regularly to build new features and new visualisations, but I’m also looking forward to new projects and new challenges.

So if you want to chat about working together, whether it’s data-viz, web-apps, UX, or anything else that involves a creative challenge, drop me an email at tom@acatcalledfrank.com.


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