The State of the Data Visualization Practice (Survey)

Low N

I created a survey in the spring to try to take the pulse of the industry. I was hoping to find out who is visualizing data – what types of organizations, how much are they spending on it, what kind of people are doing it, what’s working, what’s not working, etc. I narrowed the focus of this initial survey pretty tightly and asked just 24 questions. Unfortunately, I only ended up with 99 responses. It’s been a busy few months and I’ve been busy promoting too many other things to get the numbers up for this survey. But almost 100 responses seems like enough to me to at least get an interesting snapshot view. While it’s not scientific (due to the low N and a self-selected audience for an internet survey based on people connected to me via social media), it is still interesting.

Diverse Audience

In fact, it’s really interesting to note that the audience who responded ended up being very diverse. Whether measured by industry, organization size, respondent department or role, the respondents come from a good array of organizations.

62 Unique Tools!

The quick takeaway that surprised me the most? Out of 99 responses to the survey, when I asked for the top 3 tools people are using…I received 62 unique responses – 62 unique tools people are relying on for this work. And that includes aggregating a bit (if someone said “Adobe CC” or “Adobe Illustrator”, I counted those as one unique tool; anyone who didn’t name their software or said “an internal tool”, was only counted once as well.

There is clearly a glut of tools out there and standardization is not as rampant as you might guess. However, within that long list of tools, Excel (43 mentions), Tableau (26), Adobe Suite (25) and D3 (21) are clearly the go-to tools right now. No other tools came close (R was next with 12 mentions.)

Raw Data Available/Help Needed

I’ve been very busy with my client work and my workshops and my online courses (on and Udemy) I have not yet had the time to analyze the data beyond the quick glance above. And I’m not an analyst anyway. So…I’m hoping someone (or many someones) out there will help me with this task. If you would like to take a look at, analyze and talk about (not to mention visualize!) the data, I’d love to share it with you! Please send me an email (bill [at] and I’ll send you a .zip file with the data.