“Making statistics simple and understandable is a true information communication challenge that the creators behind this project succeeded at, demonstrating keen creative coding skills in service of effective interactive information design.” —juror Erika Tarte
“Interactive visualizations of statistics is not an easy subject. This experience does it in a magnificent and unique way. I wish I had something like this when I was studying!” —juror Eva Mautino
Overview: Statistical literacy is becoming increasingly important in today’s data-driven society, but many have trouble grasping highly symbolic mathematical equations, expressions and formulas, let alone applying them to their daily lives. Enter SeeingTheory.io, an educational website that makes the field of statistics more accessible by inviting users to explore a collection of fifteen interactive web visualizations. Each presents a bite-sized concept that is commonly encountered in a standard introductory statistics curriculum, from random variables to chance events.
• During peak traffic, the website was receiving more than 150,000 unique page views daily.
• The website made it to the front pages of Reddit (7,742 points; 93 percent upvoted) and Hacker News (189 points).
• Additional visualizations are being actively developed.
Comments by Tyler Dae Devlin:
What was the thinking behind the navigational structure? “Our goal was to organize the website in such a way that the fifteen visualizations didn’t feel like disjointed components. To emphasize the fact that the fifteen concepts fit together to form a conceptual whole, the website was organized hierarchically. For example, three visualizations make up a unit, and each unit builds on top of the previous one.”
How does your program make use of technology to excite students about learning? “The interactive visualizations were created using Mike Bostock’s D3.js library. While D3 has been enormously popular since its initial release in 2011, most users of the library have focused on creating data visualizations, which present information. Seeing Theory, on the other hand, uses D3 to create concept visualizations, which present ideas. The advantages of using D3 are manifold. Dynamic visualizations enable us to illustrate ideas in ways that aren’t possible with the static figures found in textbooks and on blackboards. Interactive visualizations encourage students to take an active role in their learning. Whereas lectures and readings are inherently linear, progressing from start to finish, the visualizations on Seeing Theory create a forking tree of possible ways to interact with the material.”
Who does your project serve? “We believe that Seeing Theory is a valuable learning aid for any student who is not being adequately served by existing educational systems and resources. Since Seeing Theory is accessible at absolutely no cost, there is large potential to bring this into school systems that may not have sufficient funding for traditional materials like textbooks and online learning platforms, which are often overpriced. We share the belief that education is a public good and a fundamental right—not a luxury to be enjoyed only by those who can afford it.”