Visualization

What I did:

This week’s sprint, I practiced how to use Tableau to visually present data. Data visualization is an art of presenting “information-as-thing”(meaning information stored as data) by color-coding, changing size, adding labels, and changing type of graphs. I practiced visualization so that I can better communicate and pass “information-as-knowledge”(meaning information stored in my brain) to users. During the sprint, I used the data from “911 incidents report” to find the best parade route concerning traffic safety. I identified my users were UW students who wanted to know the safest route and the safest time. First, I made an visualization of the location of the traffic incidents in U District on a map. The second graph I made is a treemap of weekdays of the most incidents. The last graph I made is a line graph that shows the accidents in each hour of the day.

One of the graph I made to show the type of incidents
Working in pairs during sprint

Reflection:

I like working in pairs for this project because I think this is a good way to practice collaboration. At first, my teammate and I were working separately on the tutorial. We had lots of questions and we hardly communicated. Then we realized working as a team had higher efficiency than working alone. My teammate read the instructions to me and we tried to figure out each step together.

I also enjoyed playing with Tableau. I think this is a great tool to improve data visualization. When I first open the “911 incident report”, I was a little frustrated to see so much data. After I added filters and color-coding, the graph looks beautiful. Users can read the data much quicker and much easier.

Application:

Visualization is a great tool for data analysis. Especially when the database contains so much information, visualization helps sort data. It also filters out extra information, so users can get the information immediately. Visualization also uses color-coding, various size, added labels and graphs. These features help presenting many numbers in the same graph, but each number is presented distinctly. It made “information-as-process”(meaning the process of informing) more meaningful and powerful.

Visualization is also good for making a presentation. If the presenter is trying to prove his/her point, presenting the data visually can help listener understand the concept.

Visualization is not suitable for usability test because the users are producing new data, so presenting data is not necessary. It’s also not applicable for user research because observers are learning how user behaves and interaction might change user’s behavior.

Citation:

Buckland, M. (1991). Information as thing. Journal of the American Society of Information Science 42 (5), 351–360.