RTD2015 24 A Pixel is Not a Pixel: Simple Data Charting Made Physical

<p>The humble pie chart, the basic line graph: we are used to these and other forms of basic graphs. These have become commonplace and they can blend into the background, another plot on the screen real estate that accompanies our lives. To stand out, screen based data visualizations have become ever more beautiful, intricate and bespoke, but in so doing their legibility can suffer.</p> <p>In a project on community data, run in collaboration with residents of Tenison Road in Cambridge, we have been exploring how to present data to the community that will be accessible to as many local people as possible. We chose to use our highly visible window-frontage, visible from Tenison Road itself. As a technology company, our street facing window is full of screens, which could easily have been used for our purposes. Instead we have designed and built physical visualizations of a pie chart and a line graph. These are simple in the sense that they are easy to read and make playful use of some readily available material (like retractable tape measures). Their design is sensitive to the need for readability and spectacle.</p> <p> </p>