Who said data cannot be fun! Let me introduce you to the Ping Pong Emoji Chart.


I spend a lot of my time talking about the importance of data literacy and how important it is to tell stories with your data. This chart was born out of the desire to tell a story with the data, to engage with my audience, and in this case, 7 and 8 year old children who are just starting their data literacy journey.

During this Covid-19 lock-down, my son and his friends were home schooled. They were using Google Classroom and I noticed how they were really engaged, sending a lot of chat messages to each other, discussing everything but the topic they were supposed to be studying! (what a surprise!). I wanted to get their focus back into learning, and this is when I got the idea. I decided to use the chat messages from one of the classroom sessions (with permission of course!) and build an interactive visualisation to get their attention. And this gave birth to the Ping Pong Emoji chart.

How does it work?

I wanted to visually display the different emojis they used in the chat. To make this more interesting, I decided to make the emojis fly around the screen. The idea is to draw their attention to the chart. The chart displays all the emojis that were used in the chat and the size of the emojis are determined by the number of times they were used in the chat, think of this as a flying bubble chart. I decided to make the chat interactive, allowing the children to make selections and drive the story.

In order to complete the full story telling experience, I decided to add number of other charts in the Qlik Sense application to display emoji usage trend, who and when the emojis were used etc and which context they were used (the full messages). This certainly captured their attention, soon they were asking questions and trying to answer them using the Qlik Sense app. And no surprise, they quickly found the person who used 💩 in the chat and it was non other than their teacher! DATA DOES NOT LIE!

For obvious reasons, I cannot use the original application I used with the children. So I have prepared a prototype with the Qlik World 2020 twitter app I built. Feel free to download the extension and come out with your own crazy version of story telling with data!

Live Example

In the live example below you can select an emoji. If you want more info on a particular emoji, after selection, you can switch to the tab ‘Emoji Info’.

I used this extension in my presentation at the virtual Qlik Meetup, discussing many ideas on how to engage with your audience using innovative approach in Qlik. You can watch the section of that presentation below.

You can also watch the full recording on the presentation here. (At 1:03:00 you can see more on this extension)

At DataOnTheRocks we want to have fun with our ideas and things we create. This post falls into this fun category. But we also know that these (maybe pointless) posts can sometimes spark ideation or give insights into solving things differently with future projects. We hope you don’t mind us having some fun out here.

If you want to download the app and extension, here you go:

Co-authors on this content

Christophe and Patrick