VISUALIZATION PROCESS BLOG
WHAT DID I ACTUALLY DO?
The task assigned for this sprint was information visualization. In simple terms, information visualization means taking chaotic as well as complicated data and representing it visually through the use of graphs and charts so as to make it more intuitive for a person. To teach the concept of information visualization, our TA requested the students to download a software called ‘Tableau’. This was done because Tableau is an industry-standard visualization software package. To perform this practice, I was told to download the dataset acquired from the City of Seattle’s 911 Incident Response database. I was then supposed to salvage this data and plan a parade route based on traffic safety concerns. This was done because it is an ideal situation where information visualization would come in handy. The group of people organizing the parade are probably not adept with the skills required to find the data that they need from the humongous 911 Incident Response database. Thus it is important that only the parts that they need are separated from the data set and shown in a visual and organized way. I, as human-centered designer am the one supposed to do this task by cherry-picking the useful data sets and presenting them using graphs and charts in an organized as well as a presentable manner. I went ahead to do this by dragging the important data sets from the database into the Tableau axis toolbox. I then had the option to represent it through a variety of graphs and charts ranging from bar graphs to bubble charts.
WHY I LOVED THE WHOLE PROCESS?
Before last Wednesday, Information Visualization was an unprecedented practice for me. However, in a brief span of five days, I have learnt a whole lot about this field. The part that I loved the most about this experience was the process of learning and using Tableau. This experience also taught me to always display any information I want to convey to the world through visualizations as they are much easier to grasp. I was surprised to find out how much information I skipped when it was unorganized and obscure.
HOW LEARNING INFORMATION VISUALIZATION HELPS ME?
Information Visualization is a skill that is of utmost importance in today’s world where the amount of data is increasing exponentially. Moreover, through the technique of information visualization, I can help the society by converting abstract information into more attractive and visual concepts. I aspire to become a user experience designer one day and learning how to use Tableau as well as visualizing data in general would go a long way towards achieving this endeavor of mine. This experience also helped me to learn the skill of identifying the important data from a huge database. This is salient because a user experience designer is often provided with a lot of data out of which only a small proportion is important. I can see myself using the techniques of data visualization that I learnt here in improving the overall design as well as the legibility of a smartphone app that I will design someday.