UI, Me, & Data


My Name is Harrison

This is my giant face

My Name is Harrison

This is my giant face

*Beard technology

I'm a frontend engineer at airbnb


The Airbnb Stack

I'm on the
data infrastructure

Make decisions based on data.

(when possible)

Make good decisions based on good data.

(when possible)

A good decision is an informed decision.

Good data is reliable data.

And yes sometimes I like to read the words on the slides

A Professor once told me it was lazy to add subtitles to a presentation...

I said it was great for when the audio cuts out

( laughs out loud )

Two Concerns

  1. Collecting Data
  2. Communicating Data with Decision Makers

Collecting Data

  1. Storage is Cheap
  2. Log Everything You Can
  3. Performance & Metrics

Communicating Data
with Decision Makers

  1. Consider Your Audience (anyone)
  2. Tell a Story
  3. Build the Tool that Replaces You

A Story

A Data Visualization with Words

Florence Nightingale

1820 - 1910

Florence Nightingale was a nurse and statistician.

Crimean War Hospitals (Turkey)

  1. Lack of Fresh Air & Light
  2. Overcrowding
  3. Lack of Food
  4. No Sanitation Facilities


  1. Collected data about conditions
  2. Collected data on cause of death

More people were dying from preventable causes than on the battlefield.

How do you convince people who have little or no statistical knowledge? (the Queen)

You invent a visualization.

Coxcomb Plot

12 Segments
Seasonal Patterns
Values not as important
A = number of deaths
= r2π·sin(θ)

A = r2π·sin(θ)

A = r2π·sin(θ)

A = r2π·sin(θ)

A' = (2r)2

A' = 4r2

Florence realized this later on and had to update her graphs.

Other Important Visualizations

John Snow's Dot Map

Cholera cases in the London epidemic of 1854
Clusters show Broad Street outbreak
Started Epidemiology
Convinced local council to disable pumps


Charles Joseph Minard's Path Diagram

Napoleon's failed march into Russia
Size of army at each position
Cold affected the retreat
Edward Tufte: “the greatest statistical graphic ever“

This is important because the way you communicate your data matters

Newton (demo)