JUST GIVE ME A UNIFORM!
I am getting more comfortable with manually creating data and realize that software programs actually create as many limitations as they are useful. Aside from my working on my second Dear Data project this week, the class experimented in Tableau Public. An online data visualization platform and community where you can share your work. Putting aside all the technical knowledge and learning for programs like Excel, Powerpoint, Tableau and similar can be liberating. Each have their strengths and weaknesses but I am beginning to appreciate just having a tactile relationship with a chart system. Your physical drawing is also rich in information and like in sound…. playing an instrument, bad notes, taps, coughs all relay and capture information. Also not having ready made clip art and default icons can lend to your creativity as you struggle for the right way to communicate an idea. I may not produce anything attractive, but the conceptual under workings could serve me on my next project.
So I also learned this week that maybe it might just be easier to wear the same thing everyday. Just breaking down the process of what influences you selections is a lot of work. I decided to break the process into two major categories “emotional” and “practical” considerations. Five quantitative 1- 10 ranking questions for each would give me a 100 point scale that I could then use to “read” the thought process every morning. I was pretty busy so I did not want to collect more than 5 days work of data. Once that was done, I worked on displaying the information, I settled on what looked like a circular radar image for each day, with the length of the line representing the score (or level of influence) and the color representing category. There would be an additional happy/sad face icon displaying what mood I woke up in that day. So that alone is a pretty rich data set for a 5×7 postcard. When I have time, I will look at the data and see if there are any correlations between categories and clothing selections which I captured as well. Cool colors (blues and greens) would represent practical concerns, Warm colors (reds, browns, yellows) would represent emotional concerns.
About the project
As part of our Data Visualization class, we have been asked to create our own “Dear Data” postcards. Dear Data was a year-long, analog data drawing project by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, two award-winning information designers living on different sides of the Atlantic. By collecting and hand drawing their personal data and sending it to each other in the form of postcards, they became friends.
For this Dear Data project I focused on what influenced me as I picked out my clothing in the morning. We have a traditional dress code at work where I am required to wear a jacket and tie even in the summer months. Trust me, I would much rather be wearing a cap, jeans and a hoodie most of the time, but have made peace with the fact that people often judge others and measure situations by appearances. I have become acutely aware of how others respond to me in professional settings (and society in general) based on my dress. It also has a psychological effect, putting on the attire almost mentally prepares you for the role, kind of like an actor. Besides, do I really want to see my boss in a hula shirt every day? And…would I really have the same level of respect for him. Be thankful for the little things.
I think that I get up and just pick a random shirt, but do I? Could there be some mystical pattern in the universe where a butterfly flaps its wings, the Yankees win the evening before and BAM…I have a gold tie on?
Collection of Data
As I had done in my firstDear Data project I decided to set up a google forms survey. Google form data can be collected and downloaded as a .csv so once I was done logging, it would be easy to download a spreadsheet and explore what story it had to tell about my exchanges with others. I bookmarked it on my phone and emailed myself address in case I need to fill it out from another location or device.
When I was setting up the survey, I realized that I needed to modify/refine my questions for a survey format.
Here are screenshots of my data and the survey:
- I care more about my appearance than I thought.
- I am driven mostly by the activities of the day, office or personal related.
- There does not seem to be a dominance by either category.
- I wake up happier than I thought.
Survey Questions :
General Morning mood rating
Emotional Considerations – What emotional factors influenced your clothing decisions that morning.
Desire to be attractive
Other people’s comments or reactions – How much did you care what other people thought of your outfit?
Projecting desired mood or message – Did you feel that dressing a certain way it would reflect or project a message for example yellow to be happy, black to feel artistic etc.
Weather – Did you wear your rain coat or linen because of the heat?
Work activities that day – How much did your upcoming schedule impact your decisions?
Personal activities that day
Comfort level – How comfortable is the clothing?
What is clean or available – Did you just pick what was closest to the bed?
Pocket Square color:
Shawn is an Information Technology manager in Washington D.C. and a graduate student at Quinnipiac University pursuing his masters in Interactive Media and Communications.
References and Resources for Further Exploration
THE PROJECT — Dear Data. (2019, June 03). Retrieved from http://www.dear-data.com/theproject
Berinato, S. (2016). Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations. Harvard Business Review Press. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Good-Charts-Smarter-Persuasive-Visualizations/dp/1633690709
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