Who Shapes your World?
The following aims to showcase the process of my last visualization in Tableau. I believe that isn't just one definitive way to create a beautiful visualization. However, with practice and a complete understanding of each step involved, one can become not only more efficient but also prioritize the most crucial aspect: delivering a clear message to your audience. During this exercise, I discovered that my ideas often originate from the sources with which I engage the most, including my favorite books, series, media, and blogs.
As I continue to expand my creative universe, I explore different media channels, such as:
- Exploring Tableau's Viz of the Day for inspiration.
- Following Tableau Projects on Twitter, including #IronQuest, #MakeOverMonday, and #WOW.
- Engaging with the community to learn different visualization techniques.
- Exploring related images on platforms like Pinterest.
- Staying updated with news sources like The Economist and Reuters.
Whenever I encounter a visualization, one of my main curiosities revolves around how the author determines when it is ready and how many discarded ideas they had along the way. I believe that gathering these experiences is vital for fueling the creative process.
Without further ado, I present to you the journey of Who Shapes Your World.
Mapping my Friends
To start, I found inspiration in some self-help books, which led me to the idea of creating a mind map of my closest relationships and capturing some shared characteristics. I began by making a list of my friends and organizing them based on the level of confidence I have in each relationship. Additionally, I asked my friends to provide a self-assessment of their level of happiness, which added an interesting dimension to the visualization.
Refining the Graph
While watching the Instagram episode of Black Mirror, an idea struck me. Although it may seem unconventional to draw inspiration from a dystopian series for personal introspection, the graph used in that particular episode aligned perfectly with my concept.
Design the Characters
In my quest to represent my friends visually, I explored using the design tool of Figma and discovered helpful resources for creating cartoon versions of them. I focused on capturing essential features such as the lines of their hair, their ears, some characteristic accessories, and their eyebrows while keeping the remaining features consistent.
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Building the Flowers
To present certain characteristics, I select the form of a flower, where the length of the petal represents the size of the following variables:
- Years of Acquaintance
- Frequency of Interactions
- Current Travel Distance
- Self-assessed level of happiness
- Last met in person
- Number of shared friends on Instagram
And pulling from my previous data visualization experience with Tableau and my exploration of polar coordinates, I applied this knowledge to construct the petals of each flower in the visualization.
Placing the Flowers
Organizing the flowers in a structured manner posed a challenge. Initially, I attempted to use the network tool provided by Tristan on his webpage, ladataviz, which only required a JSON file to build the graph. However, I couldn't configure different radius lengths where there was only one connection point. Consequently, I decided to manually arrange each flower on the Cartesian coordinates system.
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Building the Layout
When it came to designing the layout of my visualization, I started with some initial ideas but I found an incredible post by Will Sutton. In his post, he explained the concept of the golden ratio, which helped me achieve visually pleasing ratios and make it easier to arrange all the information cohesively.
Content of the Community
I have already shared this graph with my friends, and some of them expressed an interest in working on the petals. This feedback is valuable to me and shows the engagement the visualization has generated.
As for my creative process, I often find inspiration in my favorite books and series. They serve as a starting point for ideas, and I use them to infuse creativity into my work. However, I also recognize the importance of discarding ideas along the way to refine and improve the final result. The creative journey is a dynamic process that involves exploration, experimentation, and continuous learning.
How about you? What is your creative process like? How many ideas have you discarded, and how much influence do your favorite books and series have on your work?
Ohrid, 13 June, 2023