Visualizing the Startup Institute Spring ’13 Class

Last week, we got our hands on the class list for the Spring ’13 Startup Institute class. I had some time to burn so I decided to throw together a visualization using the names and email addresses of the members of the class. You can check it out at

How it works

Basically, the visualization represents every student with a 3×3 color grid by using various attributes of their names and email addresses. The various squares are calculated with the following formulas:

  • Top left: Calculated by taking the first letter of the first name (say C) and then converting it to a % for how far down the alphabet the letter is. So C would come out to 3 / 25 = 12% Then, this percentage value is applied to the “lightness” component of a HSL color tuple for “hsl(40,100%,92%)”
  • Top middle: Calculated by taking the length of the first name and then calculating a % for how long it is compared to the other names in the list. So basically, it finds the length of the longest name and then divides the current student’s name by that value for a %. The % is then used in the lightness component of “hsl(340,100%,73%)”
  • Top right: A color generated using the metaphone of the first name. The metaphone is generated, then split up into 3 pieces, and then the ASCII values of those 3 components are summed. Then, the 3 parts are mapped to HSL values depending on the % maximum they are for the entire sample size.
  • The second row is identical to the first except using the last name.
  • Bottom left: Calculated depending on the “track” that the user is in.
  • Bottom middle and right: These use the same metaphone algorithm except using the email address and email domain name respectively.

Technically, the squares are drawn using the d3 library and the page layout is done with Bootstrap.

Anyway, as always comments and feedback are welcome.