Voxter's new data visualisation tool - automated flow diagrams


30 May 2016

Map and visualise changes of opinion


Voxter's new data visualisation tool - automated flow diagrams

One of Voxter's great features is the ability to ask participants key questions at the beginning of the research project and the end, and to observe changes. For example, we recently observed whether a discussion on the future of a Britain outside Europe had an effect on the voting intentions of participants.

This data is fabulous to have, but can be very hard to visualise.

Enter the Sankey diagram

At Voxter we find the Sankey diagram a great way of visualising complex flows between groups. In these diagrams, the thickness of the lines represents the amount of flow between different elements, creating a great infographic that is attractive and extremely informative.

We now include these diagrams in our analytics software - the example below maps changes of voting intent before and after a discussion about the UK leaving the EU:

Mapping opinion change

Here you can easily see:

  • small amounts of movement in all directions
  • the big changes in opinion are away from the 'Remain' camp
  • very many people moved to 'Don't know'
  • very few 'Definitely leave' people changed their minds
  • there was some polarisation of opinion as well


The sankey diagram is important in the history of information graphics and data visualisation. Charles Minard's illustration of Napoleon's disastrous march on Moscow is a very early example that combines flow and cartography to provide an extraordinarily powerful visualisation.

Cartographical infographic of Napoleon 1812 campaign

Later an English engineer, Richard Sankey, used the same technique with greater sophistication to map energy flow in steam engines, and these diagrams are now named after him.


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