In this May/June edition of Data Visualization DC (DVDC) we took our first step and experimented with a new interactive format, which I'm happy to say went very well. In short, we started with the standard Data Community DC (DC2) style introductions, Andy Trice gave his presentation on Adobe's work with HTML5, and we finished by breaking into two groups to play with visualization-focused and code-focused examples. The last half of this format grew out of the standard DC2 lecture format, and was inspired by the enthusiastic requests of the DVDC members. DC2 could continue to host lecture style events for the foreseeable future, and it will likely always be a good introduction for new members whether they're attending DVDC, DSDC, DSMD, DBDC, or SPDC, but we know there is more we can do to engage with DC's data community and the question has been, "How do we decide on an approach?"
Before I go any further, if you attended the event we would appreciate your feedback using this quick survey.
We wanted to experiment with this format based on the strong feedback we received from both the visualization and code focused groups. The approach was simple: set the context using Andy's presentation, then break into two groups that catered to coders and visualizers, and maybe have some feedback from the two groups to wrap things up; Data Drinks follows every DC2 event.
The first surprise was the number of people interested in the detailed coding examples, and we had only prepared for about six people. Some people in the visually interactive portion did access the presentation and interactive material, but we quickly learned that despite the tailored link "bit.ly/DVDC_HTML5_Ex" shared on the event page and my personal twitter handle, it was not a smooth process. Most simply discussed the presentation, with the most activity circled around Andy himself who was feverishly answering questions from as many people as could gather around.
If there were a slight adjustment I could have made, it would have been to have a larger table setup in another area for the people interested in the coding examples, but of course not all spaces have this kind of room. I also would have started promoting the interactive material much farther in advance, it is asking a little too much of people to pay attention during a presentation and find the example they're interested in. More broadly however, the strong interest in two different types of interactive events begs for a follow-up workshop, hackathon, or both, which we are currently planning with Andy and nclud.
Again, if you attended the event, we would of course love your feedback using this quick survey.