Visual.ly Using APIs to Automate and Personalize Infographics

Robert Egert, March 15th, 2012

Infographics have played an increasingly visible role in communicating complex analytic data in an easy-to-digest way. Until recently infographics were hand-crafted by graphic designers with a special interest and ability in data communications. Visual.ly has made a name for itself by authoring web-based data visualization applications that can be customized and populated on an individual level.

It’s no secret that data analytics is undergoing profound changes across the interactive spectrum as APIs enable real-time data aggregation. But aggregating and outputting data is only half the equation. Making smart decisions based on the data requires understanding among investors, marketing professionals and others who don’t necessarily have analytics background.

The value of visual story-telling over traditional spreadsheets and data portals seems to have convinced investors. In 2011 they garnered over $2 million in start-up funds and have been releasing new visualization applications on their flagship website and blog.

“We’re already seeing strong demand from social media marketers and public relations professionals interested in the performance of particular brands in social media. People are also having a lot of fun generating their personal Facebook monsters,” says Lee Sherman, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer.

But the audience for infographics is expanding beyond business: Mainstream audiences have become familiar with Infographics through their use in newspapers and magazines (traditional and online). Visitors to visual.ly can create their own personal infographics by authenticating with OAuth and creating their own custom infographic based on a Twitter or Facebook account history.

In addition to the major social networks, Visual.ly is partnering with Infochimps, PeopleBrowsr and Face.com and they are exploring new infographic in economics, politics, sports and food.

“The audience for visualization is becoming more mainstream. What’s driving it is a preponderance of data and a limited amount of time to consume it all,“ added Sherman.

Visual.ly also created our visualization of API growth.

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