Monday, 11 November 2013

Exquisite Viz Part 2: The results!

Here's how the Exquisite Viz turned out:

Not too shabby! There's lots to interact with in this 'exploration' type dashboard so please have a play.

(in case you missed it, here's how it started

Some notes:

When I received the viz back after it had gone around all the players and took a look at what they had each done, the difficulties that the rules impose became clear. I think this is actually a good thing as it forces you to think in new ways, but there are some tweaks I would consider making to enable the players to make more interesting and interactive vizes.

Because the initial rules did not allow for changes to be made on previous players worksheets, any dashboard actions that were added to work between sheets would only work if the fields had been used in both sheets. To get around this, Jewel broke the rules was smart and actually added some fields to previous sheets in the 'Details' shelf - the idea being that these would not impact the look of previous vizes but would allow actions to be built on a wider range of fields. Jewel's James Dean moment went a bit awry as it had a slight impact on Ramon's viz, but was a good idea and I think that for future games I would allow fields to be added to previous sheets as long as they have no impact on the view. I also learnt through this process that depending on the view used, adding dimensions to rows or columns and then hiding headers can sometime achieve 'no material impact' better than adding them to the details shelf as the latter will impact partitioning.

All participants responded positively to the game but they also had ideas after the viz was finished on how it could be polished to more of a finished product and here's what they thought of the experience and their contribution:

Ramon highlighted that here were many different ways to investigate the data, and so as the second player up he wanted to provide a different view to the first one:

"While Player 1's viz is showing the income gross of films breakdown by worldwide, domestic and foreign, with an interesting classification of movies according to endurance and local-global appeal, Player 2's viz highlights a different story grading the movies by profitability.

This viz allows us to recognize easily the top-n profitable films.....

There are many interesting stories, but we leave the viz to readers so that they explore by them self to find them."

Jewel found it an interesting challenge and also had an idea about how to improve the way in which the interactivity of the dashboard could be explained to the end user 

"Working with such a small quadrant was a challenge for me. I knew I wanted to make some kind of selector viz but it was hard to show all the categories I wanted to show; especially since I was trying to leave room for a few instructions. It might be a good idea for there to be a dedicated “help” menu that we can all add our instructions into; that way we don’t have waste precious space on explaining how to interact with our quadrants."

Carl I think had the hardest role going last

"I loved adapting to the colour schemes already available and then ensuring the bottom part of the viz worked as a unit as I couldn't find anything useful to fit the whole viz. Hence using genre as the colour still so it could interact with player 3.

I also enjoyed the limitation of being able to complete part of the overall. It made me think a lot more about what that one chart could add to the overall picture. 

It was also great to pick up after you guys so I could see a bit more about how you create your visualisations."

As for me, I found the process to be a really good learning tool as it allowed me to see how other people approach and construct their visualisations and I definitely took away some things I will use in future. I would love to do the whole thing again, but not go first, to experience for myself how tricky it is to build on someone else's work.

But all in all I thought this experiment was a success. It was really fun to do and I'd like to thank the three participants for their contributions and help in achieve this.

If anyone else tries an Exquisite Viz, I'd love to hear about it :-)


comments welcome.....


  1. Love the use of the dual-axis color on the scatter plot.

  2. Thanks Mat, I'll do a blog post about that technique soon


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