EthnoVis: Developing an interactive visualization as a designerly tool and process of longitudinal data analysis and communication

In this paper, we report on an interactive visualization that served multiple purposes and diverse roles in a research-through-design (RtD) study. The visualization is part of the study on the sociocultural factors that shape energy exchanges between households. It showcases an ethnographic data combined with quantitative logs collected for 11 months, comprising of around 1200 energy exchanges between 27 energy-receiving households and one energy-giving household in a rural village in India. In this paper, we reflect on how designing the visualization as a process as well as the visualization as a tool, played three significant roles in the RtD study. First, as a process, it helped design researchers to select, reduce, and summarise qualitative and quantitative findings and find connections between them. Second, interactive visualization as a tool became a means of disseminating longitudinal data. Third, interactive visualization as a boundary object enabled interaction, cooperation, and collaboration amongst designers, researchers, engineers, and anthropologists. Overall, we suggest to the design research community to consider designing of an interactive visualization as a way to make sense of longitudinal collected in a RtD project and to utilize their design skills for such creative ways of analysis and knowledge dissemination.