Assignment 7: Final Project

follow your own data adventure, defining a project around your own interests

In the final four-week assignment, you will be following your own data adventure (you will continue to work individually.) It should be something you're passionate about and interested in learning.

Your final should be larger in scope and complexity than the A4 Geography assignment; that is, it should be interactive, have at least two views, and above all it should have a strong storyline. Your visualization should communicate itself without you presenting it. Finally, you will document your process in a blog post.

Week 1: Three sketches

Decide for one of the three ideas you came up with in your email proposal. Create three flat illustrations of how you plan to show the information. Try to put in place everything you will need to be part of the final product. Start parsing the data. Where do you get the data from? How does it look like? Will you access it through an api, json, csv? Collect references that will be relevant for your projects: graph types, visual language, typography. Prepare a short presentation in any format you like and submit your file/URL to Canvas.

Week 2: Three dataset explorations

Load your chosen dataset in code, and go more in-depth: what do your outlier data points look like? How will you account for it visually? What are data points you will discard, abstract, or translate? Remember to document your process throughout this process, including sketches you abandoned and ideas you threw out. Build three code sketches that show different aspects of your dataset and post them to to GitHub.

Week 3: Working prototype

Build your final visualization: you should have a working prototype that loads data, displays it, and allows the user to learn from at least two views of the data. It is okay if your prototype is not final as long as you have the core functionality in place. Link to your prototype from your GitHub homepage.

Week 4: Polishes & documentation

Add the finishing touches to your visualization: bug fixes, color tweaks, pixel nudges, copy edits, etc. Additionally, write a "blog post" (any way you like, whether an HTML page or on Tumblr/Medium/Blogger etc.) to document your process. Finally, ensure that all of your work this semester is linked from your GitHub page.

Your final portfolio for the class—your homepage—is due Friday May 4 11:59pm.

Final project documentation examples:

In your documentation, we want to hear from you, in no particular order:

  • challenges you encountered
  • abandoned explorations
  • your design decisions (how they changed, and why?)
  • sources of inspiration
  • tactics, tips, and tricks (software, tools, color picker, etc.)
  • ideas for future directions (what would you do if you had more time)
To give you an idea of the scale I'm looking for: have at least 6 in-progress images, and at least 500 words. You're welcome to write more; however, more is not better. A clear story well-structured is better: What did you learn? What would you tell someone else approaching similar a data vis problem?

Ask questions. Have fun!