About Living Pixel

Living Pixel Solutions aims to make the visual presentation of data work well in a world of screens. We are devoted to the design, usability, performance, and accuracy of visual data presented on the web.

The technologies that became the world wide web were originally created to facilitate communications between researchers. One of the great ironies of the digital age is that while the web has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, it lags far behind in its original mission. Communications between researchers still make the PDF the default format for scholarly articles. Communications from researchers to the public tend to rely on general-purpose content management systems, and there is a lack of dedicated tooling needed by researchers and science communicators.

One area where the current web lags far behind its potential is the visual display of quantitative information. Web pages are documents, but they are also software, meaning that any data graphic can be made interactive, rescalable, and linked to the underlying data. Yet many charts on the web today provide a poor experience for users: they are often slow to load due to heavy resources, portray data inaccurately, are illegible on mobile devices, or all of the above.

Why is this? Creating data graphics, even for a print publication, has always required a rather broad suite of knowledge: from mathematics and statistics, to aesthetic design, to domain-specific knowledge of the data being shown, to familiarity with the necessary software, to detailed knowledge of charts and chart types. The web complicates this further by introducing the demands of responsive design and accessibility, and the potential for interactivity. Making it work well requires the skills of a designer, developer, and scientist.

About Me

My name is Casey Ydenberg and I have been building websites and web applications for over 9 years. In that time, I have built, maintained and deployed applications with a wide variety of different languages and technologies:

  • JavaScript ecosystem: especially TypeScript, d3, React and Preact, Node, and Deno
  • HTML/CSS, different CSS preprocessors and tailwind
  • Python: Django, Numpy, Biopython
  • PHP: Laravel and WordPress
  • MySQL and PostgresQL
  • NoSQL databases: especially CouchDB

See my full CV.

After multiple years of freelancing, I'm capable of covering the whole stack, although my deep expertise lies in crafting rich frontend experiences.

Prior to 2014, I was a research scientist. While I loved the lab, I discovered that I was better at communicating my work - both in person and in writing - than I was at actually doing it.

My passion lies in bringing these two career paths together: using web browsers to present complex science accurately and in a way which respects the principles of good user experience, responsive design, and progressive enhancement.


These are general guidelines for how I think about data, user experiences, and programming.

The purpose of data graphics is to clarify, not confuse.

While numbers do not lie, many data graphics mislead by valuing aesthetics too highly. Some mislead intentionally. The purpose of design is to make something usable. This should be our primary value in designing data graphics just as much as it is for designing forms or navigation menus.

As simple as possible but no simpler.

Not every graphic needs to be interactive. Not every website needs the latest framework. The less code written, the less potential for bugs.

Meet the user where they are.

There are mobile and desktop browsers, screen readers, search engines, social media previews, reader mode, AMP, and RSS. Users can zoom pages, install browser plugins, and clip, save, or repost content. Creating a perfect experience across every context is impossible, because of the "unknown unknowns". Stick to solid fundamentals, and web standards.

Shorten the feedback loop.

Produce working software, no matter how simple, right from the beginning. Write tests. Start with something small and good, and work on making bigger. That's way easier than starting with something big and bad and trying to make it better.

Be curious. Ask questions. Read books.

I like what I do because I work with a variety of clients and projects. I can't know everything there is to know about the web, just like I can't read every paper published that might be interesting. No one is an expert on everything, and being afraid to ask questions is just ensuring future ignorance.

The web is good, actually.

The web platform still has an enormous potential to educate, inform and connect. It also has the potential for surveillance, misinformation, and exploitation. Minimizing the impact of bad actors means making sure we stay in control: owning our own content, managing our own consumption, taking responsibility for our online lives. Technology is our servant, not the other way around.