Mouse data
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A new tool which journalists will be able to use to create engaging infographics hopes to launch in public beta in March next year.

Just three days ago, Infoactive took to Kickstarter to raise at least $12,000 in crowdfunding – "the gap between our current resources and what we need to launch our public beta", co-founder Trina Chiasson told

The technology, which will also power infographics to update live as changes are made to the source data, will aim to support journalists who want "to really quickly and easily create interconnected visualisations".

The end result will also let the audience "do more than just hover over a point and see a number," she added, "but allow you to really dig in to the data and deep-dive and understand it from many different perspectives".

The crowdfunding campaign has already passed 50 per cent of its initial goal of $12,000 (approx £7,400), which it did within 48 hours, and at the time of writing had reached more than $8,000.

"Once we reach that goal, we'll have some extra stretch goals that we'll be going for," Chiasson added. "$12,000 is the minimum of what we need to make this happen, but we'd love to just do a really killer job with this and create a tool that's really powerful."

Now in private beta, the team is working with a number of newsroom testers, and carrying out "a lot of research into how newsrooms are producing visualisations and whether or not the tools that they're using are matched to the skillsets that are available in the newsrooms".

"We're working very closely with journalists through this process." she added.

In particular, Infoactive is working with the Reynolds Journalism Institute to gain a better understanding of how audiences interact with infographics, and investigating "the effect of static visualisations, versus interactive and exploratory ones".

"I'm really excited to have some hard numbers to share about that because I think a lot of newsrooms just don't have enough information to know whether or not it's worth it for them to invest that time and energy, because it is a really big investment of time and energy," she explained.

"Interactive and exploratory visualisations are a lot of work and often they take multiple different skillsets, and there are some newsrooms out there that are doing really incredible interactive and exploratory pieces, the New York Times, the Guardian, but not every newsroom has the same level of resources that the New York Times does.

Part of our mission is to democratise that process and make it easier for newsrooms to be able to afford these piecesTrina Chiasson, Infoactive
"So for a lot of newsrooms it's just out of the question to invest the time in these exploratory visualisations, not because they don't want them, but because it is a tremendous amount of work. So really, part of our mission is to democratise that process and make it easier for newsrooms to be able to afford these pieces."

As for whether the end product will have a free element to it, and what the business model would look like, Chiasson said this has not yet been fully finalised.

"We would like this to be affordable and accessible to small newsrooms, students, teachers, non-profits, people that traditionally can't afford very large, expensive tools. But we also need to make this sustainable for us and our team.

"So we're trying to strike that balance between being able to make this widely accessible and usable by everyone, and also being able to pay our bills and support our team."

But she added that giving users the ability to at least explore the possibilities, by being able to build one infographic at no cost, is "most likely".

"We haven't figured out exactly how that's going to work, but we're pretty committed to working with our users to make sure it works for them."

More detail on Infoactive is available in the video below, or on the Kickstarter campaign page.

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