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Visualization Design

In this assignment, you will design a visualization for a small data set and provide a rigorous rationale for your design choices. You should in theory be ready to explain the contribution of every pixel in the display. You are free to use any graphics or charting tool you please--including drafting it by hand. However, you may find it most instructive to create the chart from scratch using a graphics API of your choice.

Mobile Phone Sales Data

Recently, a fair amount of press heralded the prediction that the Android mobile OS will soon become the number 2 smartphone operating system. Imagine that it is your job to assist a product manager in a technology company. You've been asked to create a simple means to help her compare the sales of Android phones (both actual and predicted) to the performance of other smartphones. For her immediate purposes, she isn't deeply interested in the raw number of units sold or money made; she primarily wants to know how the competitive landscape may be shifting.

year

os

units

2007

Symbian

77.7

2007

RIM

11.8

2007

iPhone

3.3

2007

Windows Mobile

14.7

2007

Android

0

2007

Other

14.9

2008

Symbian

72.9

2008

RIM

23.1

2008

iPhone

11.4

2008

Windows Mobile

16.5

2008

Android

0.6

2008

Other

15.3

2009

Symbian

80.9

2009

RIM

34.3

2009

iPhone

24.9

2009

Windows Mobile

15.0

2009

Android

6.8

2009

Other

10.4

2010

Symbian

107.7

2010

RIM

46.9

2010

iPhone

41.5

2010

Windows Mobile

12.7

2010

Android

47.5

2010

Other

12.6

2011

Symbian

141.3

2011

RIM

62.2

2011

iPhone

70.7

2011

Windows Mobile

21.3

2011

Android

91.9

2011

Other

26.0

The number of smart phone units sold (in millions) by operating system, 2007-2011 (2010-2011 are projected numbers).

Source: Gartner

You can download the data table as a comma-separated values file or a JSON formated file.

Assignment

Your task is to design a static (i.e., single image) visualization that you believe effectively communicates the data and provide a short write-up (no more than 4 paragraphs) describing your design. While you must use the data set given, note that you are free to transform the data as you see fit.

As different visualizations can emphasize different aspects of a data set, you should document what aspects of the data you are attempting to most effectively communicate. In short, what story (or stories) are you trying to tell? Just as important, also note which aspects of the data might be obscured or down-played due to your visualization design.

In your write-up, you should provide a rigorous rationale for your design decisions. Document the visual encodings you used and why they are appropriate for the data. These decisions include the choice of visualization type, size, color, scale, and other visual elements, as well as the use of sorting or other data transformations. How do these decisions facilitate effective communication?

Submission Details

This is an individual assignment. You may not work in groups. Your completed assignment is due on Tue Sep 28, by 7:00am. We will be discussing submissions in class, so be sure to avoid a late submission!

To submit your assignment, create a new wiki page with a title of the form:

A1-LastnameFirstname

Your submission page should include your write up and a copy of your visualization in a standard image file format (JPG, PNG, or GIF). You can use the "Attachments" link found at the bottom of a page to attach your image to your assignment page.

You should also create a link to your submission in the list below. The first entry in the list is an example.

Add a link to your finished assignment here