Project 2 Information Design

Introduction

This project asks that you engage with data, present data for a specific audience, and practice making effective data visualizations.

Data visualizations bring a number of benefits to any professional document. And, though they have become extremely easy to make, people in the workplace still tend to be impressed by the extra effort and thoughtful presentation implicit in making a visualization. Data visualizations also help to make the work of digesting and interpreting data more efficient by displaying trends or illustrating the significance of specific information without poring over page after page of numbers.

Because of this efficiency, visual elements are also better at communicating certain ideas more quickly than words or tabular data. Information that may take many sentences to communicate—a sudden drop in the efficiency of a process, or a surge in sales among a certain demographic, for example—is instantly recognizable as spikes or dips along the X axis of a line graph.

Assignment Description

For this project, you will find a data set and create a short informational report that includes at least three data visualizations that you feel best communicates that data in a form that maximizes the impact of the data to suit a specific audience and purpose. Audience and purpose are central to the goal of the final deliverable.

You will also compose a reflective memo that explains your choices and goals, and how the final deliverable achieves them.

Through completing this project, you will…

  • gain a better understanding of document design and visualizations
  • write with a specific purpose and audience in mind
  • create appropriate visuals from numeric data
  • use visuals to support a specific point or argument
  • analyze visuals to integrate data into an argument
  • apply principles of design to create a visually appealing, readable document

Deliverables

  • The Visual Report
    • This is a one-page single-spaced, informative, visually interesting report that provides a broad overview of your subject. Your report should incorporate at least three types of visuals along with a discussion/analysis of the data in your figures. You will identify a clear audience. The analysis of the audience informs how you will present the data, the form the visualizations take, and the point you use the data to make, as well as the overall purpose of the document. The text included should introduce your topic and its importance, explain the meaning of the visuals, and to point to the conclusions suggested by the data.
  • A Memo to the Instructor
    • This is a short, 250- to 500-word memo that explains your overall goals in how you chose to present information about your topic, how you selected which data to visualize (since not all the data could be represented in your one-page report), how you tailored the report to your target audience, and how you ensured that the visualizations of the data were fair, accurate, and clear.
    • Your memo should include a citation for the raw data set used to create the report.

Examples

“Adult Literacy in the United States” via the National Center for Education Statistics (Links to an external site.)
“The Growing Partisan Divide in Views of Higher Education” via Pew Research Center

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