25.10.2018 by Marisa Krystian
We love helping our customers succeed and sharing their stories. That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most engaging tales of data visualization success from our customers for our new Infogram Customer Spotlight series. From the classroom, to the newsroom, to the boardroom — this is how real people are using Infogram to change the way they visualize data.
In this piece, we chat with Michal Simkovic, Director of Design at HackerRank, who builds reports and instructional guides that beautifully blend data and design. Bonus: he also provided his best data visualization tips for success.
HackerRank’s mission is to match every developer to the right job. Their unique platform is a hub where over 4 million developers can practice coding, prepare for interviews, and get hired. They also aid in technical recruiting, offering a rich pool of talent to some of the biggest companies in the world.
Along with their goal of matching the right engineer with the right position, HackerRank also conducts a lot of research. This research helps people in the industry better understand the state of developer skills. They also conduct research on the business side to improve and understand the process of hiring in tech. All of this research comes with data – a lot of data.
Michal needed to find a data visualization tool to simplify and enhance the research conducted at HackerRank. “We regularly publish industry research, all of which is very information-heavy, which is why data visualization plays a key role here,” he explained.
But, there was a problem: Michal wanted to find a product that was simple, easy-to-use, and powerful. He didn’t think a data visualization option like this existed — until he found Infogram.
Discovering a tool that would help him create rich reports and guides with as little engineering support as possible was extremely valuable. “We love interactive charts in media articles, but I had no idea there was a data visualization service that enabled us to do the same without getting too deep into the code. We researched all the services out there and Infogram was the only one doing it at the scale we needed.”
Before HackerRank started using Infogram, they were publishing charts as static images using Photoshop or Illustrator. Infogram offered their team the option of quick chart updates and engaging animations.
“We like that charts are customizable and responsive. Animations and transitions are a very nice bonus. Also, once you embed Infogram charts to a website, its form and content auto-updates. We had multiple last minute changes, and they were super easy and fast to execute thanks to Infogram.”
They’ve built multiple interactive research reports that feature Infogram charts, including The 2018 Developer Skills Report, The 2018 Women in Tech Report, and The 2018 Tech Recruiting Report. These reports have been read by millions of people and covered by hundreds of media outlets including Forbes, MIT Tech Review, TNW, and CNET. The response on social media has also been overwhelmingly positive.
Michal is especially proud of the Women in Tech report, and he should be: the report just won the 2018 W3 Gold award in the Branded Content-Public Service & Activism for Marketing category. This award showcased HackerRank next to brands like The Washington Post, Bloomberg, MasterCard, IKEA, and Dropbox.
Beyond being positioned alongside these market leaders, Michal is proud that the WiT report directly reflects the diversity at HackerRank — particularly the strong women on his team that he counts on to successfully launch and promote their work. “All our reports are led by our Head of Marketing & Communications, Ritika, and executed on time thanks to our Marketing Operations Manager, Rachel. They’re amazing.”
Infogram’s flexible customization and export options have also contributed to HackerRank’s strong online brand identity. Their logo, color palette, and style are prevalent in the charts they share, both in their content and across social media platforms. They use Infogram’s wide variety of export options to create support graphics for social media posts.
Data Visualization Tips from Michal Simkovic
What tips do you have for applying color to charts?
Infogram is a very customizable tool, so take advantage of it and get the charts as close to your own branding as possible. Oh and don’t forget about people with impaired vision and shoot for sufficient color contrast.
How do you decide how many charts to share at once?
We were shooting for a single chart per screen, to keep a single focus point.
How do you decide what elements of your chart to label?
We like to start with a minimalistic approach and label only the necessary elements. Based on external feedback, we add axis labels and more – luckily in Infogram, it only takes a couple of clicks.
What content do you choose to visualize and how do you pick the right chart?
This is a pretty hard process, as our team has to extract insights from an overwhelming amount of data. After pulling out the most interesting information, we craft a story to make it easier to digest. At this point, we can already see which information is important and which data needs to be visualized. We also have a panel of friends and experts we ask for early feedback and then we iterate further.
Did you know HackerRank’s reports are something people are referring to as “scrolly-telling?” Why do you think this format works so well?
To tell you the truth, I’ve never heard the term before. The format felt very natural – we simply had too much data, and it wouldn’t fit on one screen or slide.
What role do you think data visualization will play in the future?
I hope it will keep enabling data, making it more accessible and easy to consume for broader audiences. Hopefully, it will get us out of this post-factual era.
If you’d like to learn more about how Infogram has helped businesses visualize and communicate with data, visit our Customer Stories page.
Michal Simkovic is the Director of Design at HackerRank, and formerly worked as the Visual Design Lead at Amazon.
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