Karl Sluis

Information Visualization and Product Design

I’m a product designer with a focus on information visualization, research, and leadership. I’m based in Brooklyn and work at Pandora Radiospecifically, for Next Big Sound, a music analytics company acquired by Pandora in 2015. In my spare time, I research, design, and write—lately, about New York City and vegetables. I love to learn, ideate, plan, and ship. I have a soft spot for em dashes—really.

You can find me on Twitter at @karlsluis or at karl.c.sluis@gmail.com. I’m friendly and I love making connectionsDon't be shy.

My Lastest Project

Microdistricts of New York City

In my spare time, I researched microdistricts in New York City, including the Flower District on 28th Street, shown below. Give it a read!

Writing and Presenting

Fantastic Thoughts and Where To Find Them

I love to write. Recently, I’ve written about microdistricts in New York City and sharedboth pieces appeared on kottke.org, so I think that means I won the internet. some of my favorite books about information graphics. Recently, I wrote about sleeper-hit visualization guru Jacques Bertin.

I also love to talk. Last fall, I delivered the closing keynote at the Manifesto Conference in San Francisco. I also presented some D3 tips and tricks at the NYC D3.jsNo graphics. Just JavaScript. I've come a long way. Meetup. Once in awhile, you can find me at General Assembly, discussing product management.

About Me

At Work

On weekdays, I am a Senior Product Designer at Next Big Sound, a startup acquired last year by Pandora Radio. My duties are split betweenor, often overlap, product design and product management.

As a product designer, I gravitate to classic user experience projects, such as brainstorming concepts, creating wireframes, and building prototypes. I love qualitative user research, design critiques, microcopy, sketching, and collaborating with our great teamfrom fellow designers to system admins, no one is safe. I’ve also been known to ship production HTML and CSS. Naturally, I take advantage of any opportunity to visualize our data.

As a product manager, in the words of a teammateHi, Julien!, I own “the big projects that no one else wants to tackle.” I love the challenges of supportingservant leadership FTW the team, facilitating communication, and making the tough calls. I am a note-taking, gap-filling, troubleshooting cheerleader.


Information Graphics

Recently, I’ve made a scale model of the planet and moon systems of the solar system and remixed Accurat’s visualization of one-hundred twentieth century authors (shown below). I’ve also been on a cartography kick, mapping the microdistricts of New York City, where fruits and vegetables are grown in several states, and noise complaints in Manhattan.

A Product Story

Next Big Sound’s Profile Page

In 2014, I led the redesign of the most-used report on Next Big Sound, Profile Pages. Profiles present data-focused summaries for the +200,000 entities, like artists and authors, that we track. Its traffic represents over 50% of all unique pageviews on Next Big Sound. The redesign created a measurable increase in monthly active users and served a major role in making Next Big Sound “Wired’s 2015 Most Innovative Company in the Music Industry”.

Interested in learning more? Read my Case Study, published on Medium.

About Me

What I Want To Work On

I’m inspired by transforming impossibly huge and fantastically complex subjects, like global economics and urban planning, into impactful, human-scale projects.

I’m drawn to unpacking global challenges, like climate change and wealth inequality.

I’m driven to explore and share knowledge about information visualization and communication, such as translating elaborate data science for less-data-literate audiences, creating meaningful interactions with data, and making the most of mobile screens’ constraints.

About Me

Where I Come From

It’s been a winding path to product design and visualization.

Back in collegeNorthwestern University, if you're curious, I studied History, of all things, the crucible in which my passion and talent for writing were both forged. After graduating, I went straight to design schoolCollege for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI, to study, of all things, automotive design, where I practicedand practiced, and practiced, sketching and form rendering. After two years, I moved into physical product design, which helped me build my design-thinking skills and user-focused process.

My first job was at Procter & Gamble—my introduction to management. After two years, I began to practice as a freelance designer at firms large and smallthe Economist and SEED Media, among others. I relished the opportunities to learn new skills and improve my business acumen. One client became my current employer. At Next Big Sound, I’ve greatly increased my technical skills by working with and learning from an incredible team.