Bond. James Bond.

IIB 4

This is the final piece that was sort of created in the end. I don’t know how much it works in terms of communication, but nonetheless I decided to take a chance and experiment a bit with the elements.

Radial Viz
We are familiar with radial visualisations, all sorts of them. The two things that I chose to do here were:

1. The radial visualisation was taken a notch up to spiral visualisation. James Bond movies have a classic gun graphic opening that lends itself to an interesting experimentation element. I changed the crop to a circle rather than a rectangle, because it works better for visualisation purposes. But, a crop inside the circular unit would look recognisable:

2. The scale. Many a times I have seen examples of varying scales on the same unit. To give you an example you can look at Ben’s work here. Same circular element hosts different scales. So, here I have made use of different scales in the same unit. The different scales are separated by some negative space to help grasp them better.

With great..great effort, this is the best I could do with the key, but I personally think the key can be designed better. Hopefully, it explains what it should!

The data used in the piece can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqe2P9sYhZ2ndEJlMzlrYWh3Nm5WOFN5R291dnZhSFE#gid=5

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Bond. James Bond.

Past and Present

This is actually post from another blog I have: but makes a lot of sense to share this experience here:

A little background to this work is that ‘Information is beautiful’ is David McCandless’ website and they come up with challenges then and now. This one was called challenge of the stars. For more details you can check out his work and events. The task was to take this data and visualize it. When I opened the doc, I was overwhelmed by the levels, layers and complexity of the data. 2 weeks down the timeline and this is where it was leading:


Full View here

It tells you how a film stood on audience rating and industry rating and which studio, genre it belonged to. Films shown here belonged to the year 2011. So, a film that was loved by the audience wasn’t necessarily the critics’ favorite (happens with many chick flicks). My biggest concern here, was following the lines to studios and the fact that the names of the movies were missing. There is something about network visualisations, they look pretty and intense, but following the lines just seems so taxing. Personally after doing this iteration, I am not a fan of complex network visualisations. I shall search for comprehensive network visualization examples.

So, at this point I started rethinking the story I was trying to tell and wondering if I was introducing unnecessary complexity. How I wished I could make this interactive (makes visualizing layers of information so much easier). *sigh*

Well here is an image that exposes the names of the films, to help you understand better


Full View here

Well, with half of my time sucked into this and not more than 4 days left to the deadline, naturally I *freaked out*. Thankfully an extension came as a blessing and I took a completely new direction. COMPLETELY!!! New story, new direction, new data and as a result, new visualization. This one shows performance of different genres across 5 years, it also shows contribution of the best films of the genre to the genre’s success.


For a clearer view check it out here

Of all the design projects I have done till date, this one showed the most drastic change in direction during the process. I am glad in a way, that I could explore two different directions in 3 weeks.

Past and Present

Route.ai

Hello All!

Its been a while!! This attempt of frequent blogging, is harder than I thought, especially if one is not in a habit of keeping one. Do not mistake absence of a new post as a sign of my procrastination, its rather an attempt to find some time off work. With that intro, lets begin the ‘ram katha‘ (tale) of this next project:

Before I start rambling, the post is named Route.ai because I worked on it and stared at it for so long , that I began to refer to the project as rote.ai. ‘ai’ is nothing but a suffix for an Adobe Illustrator file. So lets continue:

Its been 2 years since I started work. My first workplace was in Bangalore, India and the current is in Gurgaon, India. The task I took upon myself was to see, which city made me waste more time travelling (never a good way to lose hours in the day). I have spent 5 years in Bangalore and well Gurgaon is home so such a comparison could be biased. Many a times, a debate with my friends regarding which of the two cities is better and why was a non conclusive one (everyone defends their city after all). The truth of the matter is both have their pros and cons and to be honest are not the best places to live in India.

To avoid answering this question driven by emotions, I decided to chalk out my daily travel to my workplace in both these cities based on PURE FACTS and DATA.

#1
The first method was to use Google maps and map the route and the modes of transport used in my travel daily in both the cities. I spent one week on flash trying to make these interactive, so that on mouse hover the user could see the locations clearly but to my dismay this free version of WordPress doesn’t allow embedding .swf files in my posts. ALAS! The alternate and in my opinion best option was to make .gifs. The images on the left show travel from home to office and the one on the right shows vice versa. So, click the images below, to see the map clearer.

Gurgaon
Route from home to work in Gurgaon  Route from work to home in Gurgaon

Bangalore
Route from my residence to office in Bangalore Route from office to my residence win Bangalore

I realized that using a map with a monotone color and minimalist details really helps in communicating routes. You don’t want to add to the already existing chaos or details of the map with use of colourful lines and text. At this point of time, I would like to mention Edward Tufte, he mentions in one of his books the importance of removing redundant information (unnecessary lines, dots, text) from your work. The maps used here are taken from the library at colourmade.com. You can also create your own customized Google maps in different styles.

#2
While the first option was in context, the next method breaks up the usage of different modes of transport during the journey. It helps to compare the same modes of transport in both cities. It wouldn’t be right to conclude that Bangalore had more traffic, if I traveled by bus in Bangalore and metro in Gurgaon. Waiting time is not included here though, so the communication shouldn’t be confused with that of the maps above. The solid bars represent onwards journey and the dashed bars represent backward journey.
 Gurgaon

Bangalore

#3
This one is nothing but a cumulative of the bar graph above. It summarizes the modes of transport to give an idea of the total time taken for onward and backward travel Gurgaon

Bangalore

#4
The next method puts distance on the X-axis and time on the Y-axis. The pitstops are plotted on this graph. The additional information is that the slope of such a graph gives us the speed of the travel. So, at this level you can make a suggested guess about how fast each mode of transport is and thereby conclude the situation of traffic in the two cities. The point on the graph where time moves forward but distance doesn’t, signifies waiting time.

Gurgaon

Bangalore

I spent many days trying to come up with new (non cliche’) ways to communicate this information, but in the end this method gave the best information in the least confusing way. I guess sometimes Cliche’ is for a reason.

CONCLUSION
DELHI metro project is one of the best things that happened to the Capital/ NCR and at this stage I could probably say with confidence, its one of the best modes to commute intracity in the whole country.

Even though the distance in Bangalore was half the distance I travel in Gurgaon, time taken was almost the same EVERYDAY. This ought to tell you what the traffic situation in Bangalore is like.

Maybe another level of information that could be added was the cost of travel both ways and map that against the distance traveled. Well, the options can be unlimited when you want to visualise, just depends on the story you want the data to tell.

Well back to a new project, lets see how long that one takes to feature here.

TOOLS
Adobe Illustrator, MS Excel, Kuler,
Stamen design (they have a great bank of stylized maps)
Cloudmade.com ( for the blue maps i used)
ColorOracle (helps you view your artwork as a colorblind person would)

Route.ai