ManyEyes Review

ManyEyes is an online platform for creating basic data visualizations. It’s free and run by IBM. You can make maps, pie charts, scatter plots, and more. It’s useful for uploading data sets or creating these basic visualizations. Basically, it’s supposed to make creating a visualization easier.

It should be noted that the website is going through a transition which may have resulted in a lot of the problems I faced. The site kept freezing and at times certain buttons did not work. There was a message explaining the transition displayed at the top of each page.

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How to Make an Account

Making an account is super easy. All you need is to make a username, password, and fill in your email (which you’ll need to verify your account). No need to link your account up with any social media site.

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It seems that ManyEyes has gone through several transitions and for this reason I couldn’t find an up-to-date tutorial. Even if I did, it may become obsolete once the newest transition occurs. There doesn’t seem to be any tutorials at all on Lynda.com, but there were a few old videos from 2010-2013 on Youtube.

Here are some examples of those older tutorials:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhXxYgCezdc (2013)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAYDBZt7Xk0 (2011)

It’s unclear what this transition will change for the website at this time. I reached out to the team for more information, but have not heard back yet.

Creating a Visualization

Uploading data is not the easiest. You can either select all and copy a spreadsheet and paste it in the upload box or paste free flowing data separated by commas. There doesn’t seem to be a simple way to just upload the data from a file.

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Next, you can choose from an array of visualizations. Unfortunately, probably due the to transition, I was unable to choose or share a visualization. It seems like once you upload your data, you can choose from an array of visualizations, and then share the visualization set you make. You can embed the visualization wherever you want, including blogs and social media.

Viewing Other Data Sets and Visualizations

You should be able to view other user’s uploaded data sets, but for me, I kept getting “Loading” messages and it never loaded.

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You can view other visualizations on the site by clicking on “Visualizations”. This worked. Once you click on one you’re interested in, it will open in a new box on top of the website (not a new tab). On my 13-inch Macbook, I’m unable to see the whole data visualization without zooming out (hold down “command” and “-“ at the same time).

I do like that you can change the way you see the data. For instance, in the “Number of Obese People Per US State 2012” visualization, I can change the “Size” from “# Of Obese People Per State” to “%”.

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There are also “Related Visualizations” and “Related Datasets” at the bottom of each.

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Difficulty and Recommendation

I had a lot of difficulty using this site and, while it may be a lot better after the transition, I cannot at this point recommend it to a friend. I think a user should be able to upload a file of data. On top of that, most of the site did not work for me. I was unable to create a visualization, and the page kept freezing. Pages that showed Featured data sets did not load. The “Latest” and “Popular” data sets were exactly the same which I don’t think could be accurate.

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