Project 4. Data Visualization

Information Design Project 4!

Part I: Postcard Data Visualization

Over the weekend, we made postcards inspired by Dear Data to document our weekend and share with a classmate. My theme was “Weekend of Gratitude”, and so I documented how much I said “thank you” to people, and how many I received. Within this, I also divided it into groups of people, and if it were verbal or by text.

Here is the raw data I collected

Then I refined it using color instead of a table:

Here is the final postcard that I (e)mailed Evann, who was my pen pal

This shows that I said “thank you” the most on Sunday, and generally the most to my boyfriend (since I spend the most time with him). The “stranger” was usually when I purchased things, such as at the grocery store or online. In addition, I noticed that I say thank you more times than I receive thank you’s. Part of that may be due to allergy season, I sneeze a lot!

Part II: Data Physicalization

In class, we did a data physicalization exercise using found objects in our homes:

(The overexposed piece of paper in the middle is my data collection from last month)

I decided to show how much caffeine I consumed on a week in February, in correlation to how much I had slept, and the weather that day. I used cotton pads stacked to show how many hours of sleep, and stained it with the tea I was drinking at the time to show if I drank any form of caffeine that day. Then I used the post-it colors to indicate the weather.

Before I stained it!
Top view with key for weather
Side view to see the heights better

I generally did drink more coffee/tea on days I got less sleep. On Monday, I got less sleep, but it was also sunny though, and on Thursday I slept a lot but still drank coffee, but it was raining! Maybe there is some correlation between weather and my need to drink coffee?


The general question I started asking is: How is my architecture school education affecting my general health? or How does my class schedule affect my sleep and eating habits?

For reference, in architecture, we have studio from (sometimes 12:30) 1:30–4:30 pm every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So we also have to prepare for those classes with work, therefore not sleeping as much on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. I have generally gotten more used to this, but I remember in my second year, I averaged about 5 hours of sleep a night. In addition, sometimes my classes were packed pretty tight, so I would eat my first meal at 2pm! Therefore, I wanted to study the data I collected on my daily schedule to make myself more aware, and if I need to make lifestyle changes.

The data I will be exploring is:

Food consumption (time, takeout or home cooked)

Amount of Sleep or Time Awake

and plotted against my class schedule

Early Sketches:

I liked these two the most, and coincidentally drew them on the same page even though they were separate ideas. Instead of just choosing one, I decided to move forward with both, using each for different spans of time. The one on the left for a month overview, and the one on the right for a week.
The one on the left ended up looking like a box plot in math, so I decided against it.

Then I found further inspiration for these:

Data Construction

First, I wanted to see how the data looked and to start to analyze it. I used Rhino, which I usually use for making architectural models, because of its accuracy and ability to make things at even intervals because mine is very time-based. I used it to construct a base for the graph.

work in progress: I am able to divide shapes and segments into equal parts using rhino
I started marking using yellow-orange times I was awake
Then I used different colored circles to mark when I had each meal

After I made essentially the structure of my visualizations, I exported it to Adobe Illustrator to refine it with line weights.

This shows a summary of the whole month; I learned that the time I wake up varies a lot, but I actually usually sleep around 1–2am.

I started to see how much the time I woke up varied, as well as the time of my meals. In addition, you can see that I do not eat breakfast often.. I had a theory that those were usually Mondays and Wednesdays because I have earlier classes. So next I made a weekly visualization.

I included more information, such as when I have class and if I had bought the food or cooked it. I am quite ashamed at how much I eat outside food.

Then I realized I could compare the days of the week better if I layered each week on top of each other and lowered the opacity to see overlaps.

I learned that my lunch times vary a lot, but dinner is usually around 6–8pm, and that my lunch/breakfast times is affected by when I wake for class.

Now, I have to figure out how to compose it as a dashboard, or phone application. I am leaning towards phone app, but also wishing I knew how to make it interactive. Ideally, I would like to be able to hover over or click the circle to see exactly what you ate and the time.

I am also considering zooming in even more to a daily view of the information. It would probably be linear, and not a circle, but list what I ate to add on to the information. Not sure if it is necessary!

Updated Drafts

When analyzing my data, I realized that it was hard to tell the quantity in number of hours I had slept when just looking at lines. I wanted to find a way to add that data to the visualization.

First, I plotted the data in a new concentric circle, using just a line.
Realizing it may have been hard to read, I filled it in white. But I wasn’t happy with the figural white space between the two sets.
So then I reversed the sleep data to read from the outer circle inwards.

It looked like the duration of sleep was almost an exact inverse of what time I woke up. It looked like I had just copied and scaled up the edge of the inner set of data. Maybe I should not be too shocked, since it just means that the later I woke up, the more hours of sleep I had. But it was interesting considering I did not sleep at the same time every night.

Then I tried to compose all of the graphs on one page.

Draft of dashboard with Month views on either side, and weekly in the middle. I think it is too wide.
Another draft of the dashboard, but this time less wide, and the two monthly views on top with the weekly smaller and below

After a having a desk crit, I realized that maybe I should not show every graph in one dashboard, but to have several screens, one for the monthly overview, a more detailed month, and then the weekly view.

Final Iteration

Below are stills from the proposed dashboard:

The first screen would be a monthly overview, showing the time awake of each day with the yellow line, then when I had each meal. The outer circle shows quantity of sleep that day.
Next would still be a more detailed monthly view based on days of the week with each day overlayed on one graph to find patterns. There is more detail, as the time I am in class is included, as well as whether the meal was store bought or home cooked. The weeks individually could be found on the right. You would be able to click on one of the weeks to see it in more detail.
This screen is a single week detailed if you clicked on it from the side bar. The opacity is lower on the side to signal that is the week you are looking at.
When you hover over a meal, it will tell you what I had eaten for that meal.


This visualization was designed for the intent of myself, or any other students, to be more aware of our every day habits involving our health. It had confirmed my suspicion that I would rather sleep in more than to eat. I would only wake up in time for class, but sleep only when done with work. However, I found that I did end up averaging 8 hours of sleep a night, even though it is assumed that architecture students do not sleep much, but that also be because I did not have big projects due that month.

From the the overview, one could see that the quantity of sleep undulates often due to my schedule of MWF vs TH days of classes. Since I have later classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I woke up later and therefore slept more that night.

The only days I would eat breakfast were days I had early classes, which were on Mondays and Wednesdays. Since the morning rush hour made buses packed, I would ride the bus earlier, and grab food if I was early for class. My meal times varied a lot, whether for lunch or dinner. There were some weeks I would eat dinner around 6:30pm but other weeks I would eat around 8pm. In general, I would have lunch either right before or right after a class.

Through creating this visualization, I was able to grasp my general health data, and make conclusions on future action. We are often too busy to stop and reflect on our lives, and this has allowed me to do so.

It would’ve been interesting if I compared a month in February to a month in April to see how the quarantine has affected me, even with the same class schedule.

architecture student interested in design!

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