Elana Levin Schtulberg, Datawrapper, will speak about how we decide what features to add

We’re excited to announce that our very own Elana Levin Schtulberg will speak at the Unwrapped conference about Visualization development at Datawrapper: a peek behind the curtain.”

Elana leads visualization development at Datawrapper. She’s been with the team for nearly 6 years, having spent the majority of her time with Datawrapper as support team lead. A mixed academic background in physics and design is what led her to data visualization and laid the foundations for her data vis and development practice – but most of what she learned was on the job, from her super talented, knowledgeable, and skilled coworkers, and from Datawrapper’s users, through her relentless dedication to understanding what they need, and helping them get it from the tool.

Time to ask her some questions:

Elana, what will you talk about?

Have you ever wondered how we decide what features to add? How we figure out exactly what form they’re going to take? And what actually goes into transforming them from idea to reality (while making sure not to break anything in the process)? In my talk, I’ll share some insight into all of this, including real-life examples from our most recent big launch, small multiple line charts.

What motivates you in your work at Datawrapper?

Lots of things! I love helping others succeed, whether that be our users, or my coworkers. I think it’s really exciting to be in the position of a toolmaker – empowering people to create things they would otherwise not be able to (or not as easily), while also getting to be surprised, amazed, and inspired by what they make of it. It’s a big responsibility, but also really rewarding. And of course not to mention all the lovely feedback we get! 💖

A choropleth map, created by Elana for a Weekly Chart. Published on blog.datawrapper.de.

What do you like most about working at Datawrapper?

The fact that everyone has the chance to contribute meaningfully to the product, including in areas outside of their immediate responsibilities. I think we all feel a shared responsibility and love for the product, and appreciate the ability to put our ideas forward and discuss them together.

What’s your favorite Datawrapper feature?

While these aren’t core data vis features, I’d like to give 2 feature shoutouts that might not otherwise get a mention:

  1. Dark mode support: Seeing visualizations seamlessly transition between light/dark mode as you change your system preferences is just always so slick. Special shoutout to my coworker Gregor for the magic automatic inversion of visualization colors in dark mode.
  2. Web component (script) embedding: It’s a bit nerdy, but I think this was a really cool project that opens up lots of future possibilities. It's time to drop the iframes, and use the script embed to embed your charts natively. Your readers will thank you for the improved performance & UX!

What aspect of data visualizations would you like to explore more, and why?

I know it’s quite basic, but: actually designing my own data vis from scratch. While helping and teaching others has allowed me to hone the skill of improving visualizations or ideating from a given starting point, the process of coming up with my own ideas and realizing them in an interesting way is a muscle that I’ve not stretched so much, and would like to (although I’ll admit, it feels a bit intimidating!)

A heatmap (and secret scatterplot), created by Elana for a Weekly Chart. Published on blog.datawrapper.de.

What advice would you give to Datawrapper users?

Reach out if you’re stuck, if something seems broken, or if you have feedback to share! Our support team is lovely and will help you. We value your ideas and opinions. And we'll will listen to them.

We're looking forward to Elana's talk at Unwrapped! Until then, you can learn more about her on LinkedIn. To sign up for Unwrapped and hear Elana and other great speakers, visit our conference website.