Sleep schedule

caption: My daughters sleeping patterns for the first 4 months of her life. One continuous spiral starting on the inside when she was born, each revolution representing a single day. Midnight at the top (24 hour clock). [OC]


This data shows whether the author’s daughter was awake or asleep each day for the first four months since she was born. Perhaps the most interesting fact of this graph is that there is no legend – no description of what blue and tan represent.  When I first looked at this graphic, I immediately assigned blue to be sleeping time, and tan to be waking time.  It wasn’t until writing this blog post did I realize that nothing explicitly told me this.  The audience, broadly, is reddit users who subscribe to r/DataIsBeautiful.  The point of this subreddit is to post and share effective and aesthetic visualizations of data; thus, the purpose of posting was less about the sleeping data directly, and more about the unique presentation.  The author wanted their visualization to convey, approximately, how their daughter’s sleeping patterns changed over the course of four months.  In particular, how their daughter initially slept all day and woke at night, but after some time converged to the standard sleeping schedule.  I say ‘approximately’ because we are only given two quantifiable markers: the top of each wind represents 12:00 midnight, and the outermost wind represents 4 months.  These could have been augmented with 24 (or even just 12) hour-marks around graphic in a circle, and with circles denoting the 1 month, 2 month, and 3 months marks.  I thought the data was quite effective – with barely any information about what the data was of, I was immediately able to see how their daughter adjusted their sleep schedule.  Zooming in, I can count rings to see that the switch happened quite abruptly at around 4 weeks.

Infographic on Infographics



What Data is Being Shown: This graphical presentation contains a large amount of information regarding the characteristics of infographics. The data set is a randomly selected collection of 49 infographics. The graphical presentation contains key information specific to this data set such as: chart styles in the infographics, fonts, colors, and theme.

Who I Think the Audience Is: The audience is people who are interested in and analyze a lot of infographics. Graphical designers and companies that produce infographics professionally are likely very interested in this sort of information.

The Goals of the Presentation: The goal of this presentation is to educate the reader/viewer on the common characteristics or themes in the infographic realm. I believe that another goal associated with this presentation is to help graphical designers understand how to design unique and differentiated infographics relative to industry norms and standards. This presentation also helps the reader/viewer to understand which countries, regions, and professions utilize infographics as a communication tool.

Whether It is Effective or Not and Why: I believe that this is a somewhat effective infographic because it is largely just presenting information, which it successfully does. However, there is not much of a “story” to this infographic or the establishment of a “problem”. This can easily result in a disinterested reader/viewer. Beyond this, since there is no established “problem”, there is not really a “solution” presented in the data presentation. Therefore, the reader/viewer is left wondering: “what is the point of this” at times.

Mitchel Myers

Where MIT International Students Come From?

One data presentation I saw recently is one project by the Senseable City Lab at DUSP regarding the home countries of international students at MIT. The like is

The data connects each international student’s home country with MIT. The map draws an arch between MIT and one country’s centroid. For example, if a student is from Canada, an arc is drawn between Canada’s center and MIT. The arc is colored blue for undergraduate students and red for graduate students. A thicker arc from a country indicates more students are from that country. The data is also stratified by year; so a line chart below the world map shows the change in number of students across years.

I think the audience groups may be: 1. the administrative staff at MIT, because they should care about the school’s basic statistics and trend; 2. the prospective students and families, because they care about school’s diversity; 3. the current international students enrolled, because they may be curious about where they situate. The goal is to present numbers in a vivid way and to highlight countries that are outstanding.

I think visualizing data on the world map is appealing because it is straightforward to target the outstanding counties that deliver a large number of students. However, I think the centroid presentation is a little misleading because not necessarily the counties’ population concentrates at the center. But I acknowledge it is still effective to present the data this way. Also, I don’t understand the color of some countries; for example, China and Canada are colored red–maybe that means these countries have a large volume of students. Adding a legend may be helpful.

Lifeline: At what age do people want to die?

Lifeline is an installation created by Domestic Data Streamers. This design firm uses data storytelling to communicate complex information and generate knowledge.

This data piece is made up of a grid of 800 balloons which mark the point between one’s real age and the age at which they would like to die, contrasting the information with their gender. The coordinates where no one wants to die are represented in white, whereas the ones that represent death are in black.

Spreadsheet with the raw data

I think this project is exploratory and it does effectively communicate their intentions. I believe the communication goal is to make people aware that humans don’t choose until what age they want to live, but they can choose what age they want to die. I really like how they use physical objects (balloons) to visualize life/death (white/black), age (coordinates of the balloon). It is showing the spatial variables and the colors to convey information.

This way of representation also generates conversation right in the space. People in this installation can discuss and think what their goals in life are, and also generate new emotions.


How Much Air is in Your Bag of Crisps?

Chip manufacturers claim that air is added into chip packets to protect the chips during transit and lengthen shelf life. However, this visualization created by a UK appliance company called ADC provides a different perspective on chip packaging. Targeted at chip lovers, it looks into the amount of air in chip packets produced by major brands and investigates whether or not the manufacturers’ claims are true. It concludes that chip packet with more air has longer shelf life but not better protection during transit, and suggests a range for ideal air percentage in a chip packet.

Overall, I think this is an effective visualization because it tells a complete story, from introducing the topic, providing evidence, and coming to a conclusion. On more specific aspects, the representation of the percentage of air in each brand of chips by a picture of the insides of the chip packet makes the data easy to understand. In addition, the graphics below the description of the drop test explains how the experiment was done in a concise manner. Aside from that, emphasizing parts of text by a bold font helps readers grasp the main ideas.

However, some aspects were not effective. In the testing part, there is no explanation for why the drop test was chosen for testing protection during transit and how it was determined that the reason for longer shelf life was more air rather than other factors, which makes the data less credible. Furthermore, the bar graph displaying the percentage of air in various chip packets produced by each brand contributes nothing new to the finding that air percentage varies a lot between different kinds of chips. This graph repeats evidence provided by the previous piece of information.