Over the course of the last three weeks our class have been building up to a data visualisation exhibition on campus in Winchester. In our initial class we selected a location in Winchester that would be the focal point for our data collection and we had selected Winchester high street. We then decided what we were going to research and record and how that might turn into a visualisation at the end of the process. We then collected our data over the course of a twelve hour period all on the same day early in the process.
Figure 1 – Final exhibition display – Group 3
From there we developed our data, looking to create our visualisations, we selected our space of wall to exhibit on and with a looming print design we had to send off our display boards almost right away with a fear that they might not return in time, the following days were frantic as it all came together, problems would arise and be dealt with and eventually once our printed boards had arrived and our video was able to play on the monitor unified by our large title print, our exhibition was all but done barring the odd last minute amendments and adjustments.
Figure 2 – My own personal contribution to the exhibition in Group 3.
My own addition was a board that quite low in my initial ideas but I went along with it because it felt like our group work was quite individual and needed to be more unified. The content involved an accurate map of Winchester high street and location information that was relevant to all the other parts of our group work. I added some other information of interest such as altitude and the background was formed of my own photography. I had sacrified many of my own ideas to try and salvage the group project with mixed success, to hear more about that you can find my reflective diary on my website.
So now the exhibition deadline was reached, a few hours before the public were welcome to come visit the exhibition space and see what we had created. It was at this point with us all together that we had our formative peer assessment. It was formed of two parts, a group assessment of the other groups work in our class and an individual mark for each of the members of our own team. For this blog post I will briefly run through what each of the other teams created and my own personal assessment of those projects based on the ASK method and a fourth catergory called Design, marking everything out of 5 to give a total at the end out of 20. My own marks on my blog post are my own personal opinion and do not reflect what as a group we chose on the day. I shall start with my favourite exhibit first.
Figure 3 – Best Data Visualisation – Group 1
A – Accurate (no values but strands of string, presumed, can see patterns clearly) 3
S – Story (The strongest presentation, simple, clear, colourful, direct) 5
K – Knowledge (did reinforce knowledge, some minor figures) 3
D – Design (It was a one piece project, the projector was only to emphasise this data visualisation, the video presented was showing the group making this visualisation, the size and scale of this work made a huge impact and the clear simple font, information and use of screws and coloured wool/string, it made a great first impression) 4
In my personal opinion the visualisation above created by Group 1 was the most impactful and successful data visualisation piece created overall in our class. The size was ambitious, the data was relatively simple and easy to follow, they had gathered a respectable amount of data to fill the piece, it stood out, it looked good and it made a good use of their location. I will admit on closer inspection there are further questions raised and some interesting design choice but none the less, I don’t think anyone else created anything better than this piece.
Figure 4 – Lowest Data Visualisation – Group 4
A – Accurate (presumed, lot of information, some elements unclear) 3
S – Story (The basic story is strong, presentation is quite dull though) 3
K – Knowledge (Lots of information, didn’t feel like I learn’t anything new) 2
D – Design (The overall style is pretty nice but there is too much to look at, there is too much red going on in front of the eyes, would have been nicer to present less, add a secondary colour and mix up the balance of what was presented in this one) 2.5
Now I think this was a tough decision and it was a close call between Group 4 and Group 6. I decided on a balance of what I liked to see in the visualisations, this came out as the lowest. I admire the ambition, there is a lot of data presented, it’s almost overwhelming, but I think there were two areas where this fell short.
The main piece of data is presented in such a way that is actually difficult to read and understand the data on display. The work below it looks good and shows good variety, beyond that it starts to become a bit too much with further charts and data beyond that. I do believe they did have a good idea with the audience interaction, though the execution was quite simplistic, yes/no answers, removing the opportunity for more interesting insights.
The colour scheme doesn’t work for me, from afar it looks very clean and stylish but on closer inspection, it actually was all too similar, made certain elements hard to read and the overall work a bit more dull by the end of viewing it all. There was a sign that was pretty hard to read but reading it then revealed spelling errors which also should have been checked before presenting the work.
How to improve the Lowest Visualisation – Group 4
The first improvement would be to fine tune the volume of data on show, I would look to condense what is being presented into something more interesting and less widespread. That being said the main wheel of data needs to be repackaged and presented differently to be more effective, it looks nice but it’s very difficult to make comparisons and actually read the information available.
It might be quite nice to put the tablet video onto a monitor and a plinth and mix up the visual nature of the exhibition stand, the magazine might potentially be a real nice document so some more emphasis should be placed on that. I would also highlight the audience participation element to their display, there is a chance to leave comments and make judgements and answer questions, all of this is good and this should be presented with more importance.
Finally I’d rethink the visual presentation of the work, it’s the colour scheme that needs some work, perhaps what it needs is simply a secondary colour to be introduced to go along with the red to make the visual nature of the work more interesting.
Figure 5 – Saved by it’s beautiful digital visuals – Group 6
A – Accurate (presumed, mostly observational data) 3
S – Story (Really dull presentation, the video is excellent though) 4
K – Knowledge (I didn’t really learn anything factual from this Library data) 1
D – Design – The visual presentation was terribly dull on the walls and repetative, the quality of the video on the computer saved this project) 3
This group had gone down a similar route to Group 4 in that the data was pretty repetative, there was too much presented and the visual presentation was probably the most dull, there were some acetate sheets that actually looked nice but didn’t quite work out as intended by the group so I believe which was a shame.
There was a huge positive though that saved the exhibition for this group as a whole, this video was presented wonderfully, the use of colour and effects made it interesting, eye catching and easy to follow. It maintained your focus and I believe this was the best digital video presented by any of the groups. The quality of the finish had the best execution, it would have been the lowest ranked project if it didn’t have the video.
Figure 6 – Some nice ideas and experimentation – Group 2
A – Accurate (thorough, varied and interesting, some actual figures presented) 4
S – Story (A real shame they didn’t compare two locations within Winchester) 3
K – Knowledge (Some interesting comparison work and experiments) 2
D – Design (Started strong but grew increasingly rushed and tatty as the deadline closed in, little bit untidy on the final presentation in places taking away from the care and attention made over the graphs in particular early in the exhibition setup) 3
When I first saw this project I really liked it, they gave it a good go, it’s lacking a bit of finesse but I liked the raw variety and ideas on show, even though it wasn’t really neccessary I do like the charts being produced very physically and it added something to the data being presented which wasn’t as interesting as that design choice.
I actually liked the photography and the video work in combination with the sound,
I thought it was a nice idea, though very predictable, the only real shame is that they didn’t use two locations within Winchester, it sadly broke the story up and the connection between Southampton and Winchester is not as strong as it would have been keeping both sides of the story within Winchester itself.
The table to draw and interact was clearly a last minute addition to boost the overall exhibition and it doesn’t harm the project. I think it was a good effort and the result was a successful project, they had some good ideas and weren’t afraid to explore how to visualise them and I fully respect their work in that respect.
Figure 7 – A tale of two projects – Group 5.
A – Accurate (thorough, well presented, values presented) 4
S – Story (Two strong projects not at all related) 2
K – Knowledge (Informative, campaigns, calls to action, impressive) 4
D – Design (Each element was nicely designed, with good care and detail, the various elements don’t really compliment each other though which lets down the overall result) 4
The work in Group 5 was really strong but clearly the group had split in half and never took the time to bring the two strong halves of the project back together, by the time they lined up side by side there were such basic differences between the two that there was nothing to connect them other than the original theme of a high street cafe.
So it’s best to compare each half of the project individually, the left side had some nicely presented data, nice textured print outs though unclear how they are all linked or differentiated from each other, the video was probably the second best behind the visualisation in Group 6. I liked the style, it was good but not the strongest work presented in that room.
Figure 8 – Activism and a call to action – the other side of Group 5.
Now this side of the presentation had a bit of everything from video to print outs, a campaign, a call to action, stickers and signage. It grabbed your attention and it was interesting, I demonstrated the call to action at one point though it didn’t really make much sense to me at the time in the way it was set up so perhaps some clarity was missing in it’s instruction, the video and print outs were nicely edited and visualised, the sticker in particular behind this piece had some lovely illustrations on it designed within the team.
It was ambitious and mostly a success. The only problem was the components that made up the full exhibitions didn’t compliment each other or work together well at all. Everything was strong, well thought out and well made, good presentation, it just didn’t all fit together because it was so different from one part to the next. If they had managed to bring all their ideas together, it probably would have been the strongest group by a healthy margin.
On the day itself and in the following studio session we found out how each of the groups marked each other, on top of that we found out what the tutors thought of our projects, what was interesting was the marking differed quite a lot between students and tutors, the student marking reflected the success of the previous video project in a similar pecking order.
The tutor marking shuffled the groups around placing a new group in the top spot and two projects that ranked highly to the students were considered mid table and the worst group in their marking.
The comparisons were interesting, sure most people were happy with one of their sets of feedback rather than both. It was interesting to see the variety of ideas that the class had come up with over the span of three weeks, with many of us balancing the work for this exhibition with a deadline in our optional module running directly parallel with it.
All photographs taken by myself (Lewis, 2017)