“Dear Data” Visualization

Data visualization by hand

In a project inspired by Dear Data, a series of visualizations of everyday data between two friends, I tracked and visualized my time spent outside. Drawing on my study of human visual perception and data visualization best practices, the following deliberations shaped my final design:

  • Due to the natural inconsistencies in drawing by hand and the only moderate human ability to discriminate area, I wanted to provide redundant coding for the duration attribute represented by the size of the circles using color mapping.
  • Although my color choices were restricted by the tools I had on hand, I tried to match the semantic associations to the data they represent, choosing warmer colors for “active” time and cooler for “passive” activities.
  • While I tracked data in discrete activities, I wanted to de-emphasize number of activities as a point of comparison while enabling a general sense of how overall duration varied over the days.

This presentation provides a more detailed account of my process and design decisions: