Based on Tufte’s categorization, one of the assignment’s in the class I taught last semester was to design a narrative visualization. It resulted in several disparate, and quite interesting, designs.
Pictured below, Tarannum’s narrative was titled “An Insight into the Active Me”. Inspired by Jeff Howard’s Data Self Portrait, She analyzed her activities and personal traits over the course of her life and illustrated how they had changed in comparison. The bottom-most row of the chart shows where she lived, most locations being cities in India, until she moved to West Virginia for grad school. Above that is the timeline which calls out the years she transitioned between levels of education (e.g. primary to secondary). The majority of the chart is given to activities, divided into groups like “sports” and “social”, and sub-groups such as “solo dance” and “fundraising”. Red dots are plotted per year, with stars indicating awards or special accomplishments. She sensibly repeats the timeline above the activity matrix.
The top portion is, in my opinion, where it really gets interesting. The brush stroke is a loose interpretation of her personal development—her own analysis. There are no mathematics behind it, which is communicated by its casual, artistic appearance. Above the line are lists of traits and skills ordered by how prevalently they influenced her personality in any given year. To make changes apparent, she connects many of them with lines.
The multi-variate chart is successful by several measures. It tells a story, thus fulfilling the assignment. It conveys a lot of information quite clearly. It also makes possible comparisons of the data , allowing us to see trends and draw conclusions that may not be apparent in a different format. For example, one can clearly see the steady increase in confidence as she worked through two graduate programs and a job, as well as the sudden decline in social interaction when she moved from India to the U.S. Time management was extremely important during years she was involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities.
It would be interesting to take this visualization to the next step, documenting the lives of several people, allowing for comparisons between.