Assignment 2: Visualization Design

Goal of this assignment is to practice a collaborative and generative design process. You will be using a small dataset about NYC households. The first week you will work individually to generate divergent visualization concepts; in the second week, in randomly assigned groups of 3-4, you will choose or combine concepts to arrive at a refined final visualization.

Compile one report per group, as a pdf or google slides, ordered like so:

Pick one representative team member to submit your group report, and then each person submit your individual peer assessments for A2, by Monday 1/25, 11:59pm ET.

Dataset: NYC Households by Borough

You will be using this subset of the U.S. Census 2000 and 2010, specific to New York City. The U.S. Census is taken every ten years and influences decisions ranging from voting districts, social services, to building codes. NYC comprises five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island. This CSV (comma-separated value) file contains the following statistics for each borough. There are 16 data points per borough, for 128 data points total.

Dataset: CSV

Source: NYC Department of City Planning, Demographic Profile, 2000-2010

Week 1: Divergent ideas

Begin by considering what questions you’d like your visualization to answer. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the dataset, using pen and paper, brainstorm and sketch at least 10 visualization concepts per person.

Use one letter-sized sheet of paper per idea (or use an iPad, use the full screen area.) The level of detail simply needs to be readable: as a sketch it need not represent every data point, but we should be able to see that the concept is different from your other ideas. You may find it helpful to set yourself a 3-5 min. timer per sheet. Generate as many as you like, but choose 10 per person to include in your final submission.

You must use the dataset given, however you’re free to transform the data as you see fit. Such transforms may include (but are not limited to) log transformation, computing percentages or averages, grouping elements into new categories, or removing irrelevant data points.

Week 2: Revisions

In your assigned (randomized) groups, design three additional sketches as candidates for your final visualization. These three intermediate sketches should be an extension or a combination of the earlier ideas you generated, and should contain more details than your initial sketches although you’re not expected to represent every data point. As you discuss your ideas, consider the question that each visualization answers as well as the corresponding visual concept.

Next, choose one of the three and create a static, high-fidelity visualization in a drawing or charting program of your choice (feel free to use multiple tools, e.g. draw in one and annotate with another.) I suggest using SketchApp on Mac (30-day free trial), Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape(open source.)

Finally, in 300 words, describe your design decisions and your process.

Grading Criteria