What makes me smile…visualized

Ankita Gupta
Ankita Gupta Projects
2 min readAug 4, 2020


A data representation of things that make me smile and the intensity of the smile. Over a span of 7 days, in March 2018, I recorded how many times I smiled (or laughed) and the source.

Before I started on this project, I made a note of categories that have made me smile in the past. This helped me understand what kind of categories I should include in my visualization and what information to collect.

Learning points:

I carried a small diary in my pocket, luckily it was winter time so my hands were always in my pocket and the feeling of the diary reminded me to keep track of these details. Hence a trigger for user to collect self-information is important.

As I started collecting my data, I kept modifying the categories or the type of data I wanted to collect. Hence, understanding the data is important and the story it is trying to tell.

While I was collecting the data, I started getting too detailed about the nitty gritties of specific informations. For eg. for “Friends” and “Strangers” category I also started capturing whether I smiled to greet someone or talking to them made me happy. And as I kept track of this information, I realized adding this information is not going add any value nor will it matter to the user. To me being happy is important, whether I am greeting a stranger or talking to a friend was not a value add to me. Hence, remember what the intent of the data storytelling is and if it is getting too complicated, it is best to avoid that complication.

For selecting the visualization type, I wanted to use something that would bring joy to the audience. String lights are my favorite house accessory and I confirmed this by researching a bit on Pinterest to see what kind of tone they set with the audience. Hence, remember the intent of your data story and whether it is a piece of art, a piece of information or using to arouse emotions.

It definitely took a lot of effort in untangling the string lights and adding colors individually on Illustrator, but when I look at this visualization, it definitely brings me a lot of joy.