April 4, 2017

New Features: Layers, Roll-up, Themes and More

Andrew Pitts

An Overview of Polinode

If you haven’t used Polinode before - it’s a tool for mapping, visualizing and analysing networks in the browser. With Polinode you can either create Networks, Surveys or both. Polinode Networks allow you to upload network data to the cloud and then visualize and analyze this data directly from your browser. The source of the data can literally be anything including emails, 360 degree performance reviews, enterprise social networks, social media, etc.  

Polinode Surveys allow you to collect network data using the relationship-based survey tool. For example, you can ask questions such as “Who do you work with often?” or “Who do you go to for advice?”. You can then visualize and analyze this network data in one integrated and highly flexible solution. Applications are many and varied but include change management, identifying emerging talent, M&A integration and improving workplace layouts. This is what we call the ‘Survey’ functionality and in summary it is most often used for organizational network analysis.

New Features

We are thrilled to announce that a number of important new features have recently gone live. There are four major new features: layers, roll-up functionality, themes and improved node labels. We describe each one of these four improvements below.


In Polinode, you’ve always been able to save what we call views which is really a collection of settings. For example, you can calculate a metric and then size nodes by that metric and color nodes by another metric. When you save that set of settings we call it saving a view. A single network can have up to 50 saved views.

Now though the way that views are saved and presented in Polinode has been greatly improved. There is now a concept of layers, which allows you to stack different operations on top of each other and save the order in which they are applied. That is to say you can now chain operations together and preserve that chain, for example you can calculate a metric then filter by that metric then calculate another metric (applied only to the visible network) then color by that new metric. You can think of this as being like "Photoshop for networks"...but it's actually a lot more than that because of the way that the calculation of metrics in Polinode interacts with the visible network.

Roll-up Functionality

The ability to “roll-up” the network was a frequently requested feature and is another terrific addition to Polinode. You can now roll nodes up by any categorical attribute. So, suppose you have a network for an organisation where each node includes information on say division or location - with a click of a button you can transform that network into a rolled-up version where instead of the nodes mapping to people they map to divisions or locations. This is true for any categorical attributes that you may have, i.e. any text attributes on the nodes can be used to roll the network up. It’s also important to point out that the operation of rolling the network up can be preserved as a layer (see above). And, as part of rolling the network up, averages and totals for all numeric attributes are calculated. So, suppose you have a network for an organization and have calculated Total Degree - after roll-up you will have the Average Total Degree for each division or location say. It’s a really flexible and powerful approach to interacting with your data.      


We noticed a while ago that some users preferred to work with light backgrounds rather than the default dark color scheme and so these users would edit their settings for each network until they had achieved their preferred light color scheme. Well, we’ve now made things a lot easier for these users and anyone else who would like to use a custom color scheme for their networks by introducing themes.

Essentially it's now possible to save a theme and then apply that theme to a network any time you want. A dark theme and a light theme have already been added to all existing accounts and users can add more themes or customise those existing themes as needed. This means that you can save a set of settings for the appearance of networks (e.g. the background color, node colors, edge colors, legend color, etc.) and then apply those settings with a single click whenever you want.            

Improved Node Labels

We’ve also improved the way that labels on nodes work. We’ve added an additional tab for labels under color, size and filter. This means that you can color labels by any attribute and you can also size labels by any numerical attribute and filter them by any numerical or categorical attribute. So labels are now another dimension that you can use in the visualisation of your data.

Simplified Pricing for Networks

The pricing for Networks has not changed significantly in terms of the actual price but we’ve simplified things a bit. There are now four plans with clear names - Free, Basic, Standard and Enterprise. Some of these new features are only available in the paid plans and you can read more about the differences here.

How to Get Access?

If you already have a Polinode account you should definitely login and check out these new features! If you don’t have an account yet, it’s easy to sign up and you can create an account for free and try all of the above and a lot more. Just click here and you’ll be up and running in about 30 seconds.

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