Summer Project – Ideation & Process

Following on from my initial research I decided to draw together some initial ideas of data I could collect that involved my senses. I thought about each of the senses, thinking about things that I could track at home to do with these senses. For example ideas such as what drinks I have during a day? or The sounds I can hear when sat in my house for the day? These idea would work and be easy to collect data but I thought that with the current global pandemic we’ve been living through these past months there might be more interesting data I could collect. I had the idea to look at recording things that I saw in a day that related to Covid – 19. Whether this was a news article, a post on social media or signs relating to social distancing, anything I saw that related to the pandemic. I felt that this would be interesting to record as its both current and relates to the brief that we have been set about recording data of one of our senses during a day.

To record data I decided to create a table where I could write down the time, what I saw, where I saw it and how it made me feel. I thought that adding a column in to record my feelings could create some interesting data about my mentality towards the current situation of Covid – 19. Initially the table worked well I was able to record the articles or posts that I saw seeing during my morning at home. However, I had to go into the City Centre on this day which would make it difficult to record all the data in a table. Instead I used photographs to record anything I saw that was related to Covid-19. While doing this I continued to record my feelings in my notes. It was interesting to see all the covid 19 related aspects that were in the city centre, I even recorded seeing the changes it had made to the major roads in the city which are now closed and used for seating. I recorded the data between the times of 8am – 5pm, once this was done I was able to bring together all the data on a whiteboard have it all in one place in order to be able to see what I have recorded.

Before I started to create my own system I created a board on Pinterest while was the basis for my visual research. This helped me to understand data visualisation better and start to see how there are so many different ways in which you can visualise data.

I started out by creating a few variations of how I could present the data. The first used shapes each things I saw was represented by a shape. The second used lines with positive going up and negative going down. The third using a similar idea to the second only this one was vertical. These were simple ideas to present the data and I knew that I could create something that was more sophicated, with more meaning behind it. From this I tried using the lines in a circle to be more engaging using segments of the circle to represent the time scale. However, although this worked it didn’t have all the data on it that I wanted the post card to have.

As the data was related to things I saw that relate to Covid 19 it would be interesting to look at some visuals that are being used to represent the virus. I looked at drawings of the virus, social distancing symbols, one way systems even how the virus is being shown to children through illustrations. After looking at all of these I thought that I could use the storks of the virus to represent the different things that I saw. Placing these in a circle would give a further inference of the shape of the virus.

With the main design of the system starting to take shape I thought about how I could show the rest of the data within the system. I knew that the storks would be colour coded to represent what I saw. I wanted to also showcase where I saw it and how it made me feel when I saw it. To do this I thought that using patterns to distinguish where I saw them would best. While having AM & PM defined by having dots underneath the storks. I sketched this out in my sketchpad and through you could read it, I didn’t feel that it was clear and easy to understand. Also in these two developments I still wasn’t able to show how it made me feel which is something that I wanted to record.

Instead of having a further complex system to show my feelings I thought about changing this to positive and negative. Using a curved line to show positive and a straight line to show the negative feelings. I thought that having these inside the bubbles of the storks would be best place for them as it clear which event caused that feeling. With this idea in mind I thought that having the pattern on the stork as well would make it clearer to read and see which pattern was linked to which stork. While testing this I thought how they look like strange little cartoon characters, that reminded me of the characters I had seen during research into covid related imagery. I moved the dots to the top of the storks rather than underneath as I felt that they would be easier to read at the top.

I then drew this final idea onto a A5 size postcard as required from the brief. On the back of the post card I wrote the address and how to read the data that was on the front. This project was really interesting as it got me thinking about how data can be shown in various ways and creative ways. It has made me more interested in information design on a whole and has taught me that there are still areas of design that I am still yet to explore. I think information design could be another area which I am keen to look at and explore.

References

Eurac Research (2020) The Coronavirus explained to children. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVvVTDhGqaA (Accessed: 12/08/20)

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