Useful new tool: Rescue Time and Github Data Driven Documents

Posted on August 27, 2012

I’ve been working a while on several pages with visualizations of important quantitative data. I’ve been speaking a bit with a gentleman who works for Rescue Time (, a fun new technology in time management. I’ve been using Rescue Time for a while to tell how I’m doing on productivity for the day and to try and boost it with their “Get Focused” feature that makes unproductive websites unavailable for a certain period of time. The graphics and visualizations are particularly wonderful.

To begin with it tries to assume what things are and are not productive for you, but you can change websites or software to being a different level of productivity, and that changes the way that these graphs look and how it calculates your productivity.

And although some of my “not productive” time is productive because I’m chatting with other developers who are helping me out, I still think this is a great product with a ton of potential to help you out in knowing where your time is really spent.

At any rate, when I asked my Rescue Time contact how they came up with such wonderful visualizations, he pointed me toward and excellent tool. Data Driven Documents from GitHub (

This resource is just, amazing. You can get the code for the graphs that they show, and they have all sorts of examples. I think this will really make my next dashboard a step above. And these guys have really done their research! When they talk about bullet charts, they even talk about Stephen Few, and how he created this type of chart.

And the best part is, it’s totally free! It’s an excellent resource that I will be using a lot of in the future. Thank you Rescue Time!

Do you know of any great resources out there for usability, user experience, or design? Let me know in the comments below and I will review them in future posts.