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January 7, 2016

Dear Data Two | Week 39: Beauty

Last week I tracked the rather depressing topic of negative thoughts, so it was great to turn the page this week and begin taking in the things around me that I find beautiful. I started the week tracking every little thing I found beautiful, which made the data collection overwhelming. So I stepped back and decided to only track those things where in my head I said "Wow! That's stunning!"

This week really helped me appreciate the exceptional beauty that is around me every day, whether it be our wonderful parks, the people I see, or the amazing architecture London offers. I had this week off from work, so I was able to spend a lot of time with my family going on walks, visiting museums, playing games, etc. So the topic, combined with the time I spent with my family, really made for a wonderfully positive week after a rather crappy Christmas week.

My analysis of the data started much like every other week: exploring what each dimension I tracked offered, looking for stories, trying to find patterns. I didn't learn a whole lot about myself, but trying to emulate what Giorgia did in her postcard for this week helped me continue to learn about using Tableau as a drawing canvas.

The trouble I run into time and time again is that I have so many dimensions that I want to put in a single view, but if I add them all in Tableau, the view quickly becomes impossible to comprehend. However, I'm really beginning to appreciate the freedom that drawing on a postcard gives me. I can incorporate as many dimensions as I'd like through the use of symbols and marks in a way that doesn't clutter the visualisation and aids in understanding.

I'm not sure why, but I feel like I'm starting to grow as a data artist, particularly when it comes to pen and paper. My ideas are flowing at the moment. Let's hope I can continue the momentum for the remaining 13 weeks.

Explore my week below by click through the story points. Enjoy!


  1. Hi Andy,

    This one is inspiring to me. I'm embarking on my first month of the Data Chain, and my first time ever doing any kind of quantified self data collection/analysis, and I really like how you've visualized the data this week given the number of variables you had to work with. This has definitely given me some ideas for how I might want to visualize the data I'm collecting. I won't know for sure until this week's data collection is complete and I go about exploring it in Tableau, but what you've done here really resonates with me.


    1. Thanks Michael! I'm glad you like it. I get so much inspiration from Giorgia and Stefanie so happy to hear I'm passing that along.