Data Visualization Gets Personal – Putting Data Into Your Hands

Posted to Summer Project  |  Nathan Yau

Want to have some fun and win an Amazon gift certificate in the process? Read on.

Personal data visualization has a huge advantage over other types of visualization. Personal visualization is about you, for you, and the data is from you. That’s a ton of background information with very little effort. As Jeffrey Heer noted in Socializing Visualization, people tend to spend more time exploring data when they connect personally to what they are seeing.

This Project’s For You

Running off this idea, this summer project is all about you – literally.

Take a moment and think about the data “flowing” off of you. How much did you spend on coffee over the past month? How much sleep did you get yesterday or the past week? Did you gain or lose weight this year? Look through your past billing statements, your iTunes listening history, or your car’s odometer.

Do you have a certain number (or series of numbers) in your head now? What do you see?

How to Participate

Think about data that is specifically about and from you, and then email it to me with “Summer Project” in the subject line. Send as many entries as you like.

There’s just one catch — send me your data in the form of a graph, a photo, a hand-drawing, or any other visualization you can think of. It can be interactive or static, simple or complex, serious or humorous, analytical or artistic, or all the above. It’s up to you.

Don’t worry if you’re not a designer or expert of statistical graphics. All that matters is that you make something about you.

The End Result

In the end we’ll have a beautiful mosaic of graphics – each of which tells its own story. I’ll arrange all of your graphics (and some of my own) ever so beautifully and you will be part of the greatest PDF of all time.

Win a $40 Amazon Gift Certificate

As if personal insight and reflection weren’t enough, the person who creates my favorite “graphic” will win a $40 Amazon gift certificate. For serious. So what are you waiting for? Open up Illustrator, Excel, R, Processing, a sketch pad, your digital camera, or whatever it is use, and get creating!

Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

Feltron 2007 Annual Report:

Personal Relationships:

One Picture a Day:

Transactions Graph:



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