A few months ago, I came across the visual.ly site, which at that point was a temporary landing page with a lot of sexy looking graphics where you could input your email to be notified when the full site launches. I received that notification this morning, and it's certainly creating a lot of buzz: I've had a number of friends and colleagues forward me the announcement and ask for a review.
Visual.ly says it is the world's largest community for exploring, sharing, creating, and promoting data visualizations. I have mixed feelings so far based on the detail I've perused. It seems like describing the graphics there as "data visualizations" might be somewhat of a misnomer; perhaps "information graphics" would be a better description? A number of the visuals I've looked at contained no data at all (example).
One thing the images do seem to mostly have in common is their visual bling - they look exciting at first glance due in many cases to color and complexity. I worry about this, as sexy can be good for grabbing an audience's attention, but to maintain it, the visual needs to be clear and straightforward: I'm not sure all of the content there meets the mark on this latter piece. If it works as it appears is planned, this should self-correct over time, with popular visuals rising to the top and vice versa through the wisdom of crowds. I just hope the crowd is wise enough to value utility over sexy.
There are some stellar graphics there for sure. I've included a few of my most and least favorites from what I've looked at so far at the bottom of this post.
There seem to be some technical difficulties (I've had a lot of instances of pages timing out, visuals not loading, and buttons not following through on what they claim they will do for me), but expect that these are pain points that the crew at visual.ly is actively working to fix.
I'm interested to see whether this site will take off. Take a look. Leave a comment with your thoughts!