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March 3, 2016

Dear Data Two | Week 44: Distractions

For week 44, I tracked all of the things that distracted me. The data I collected included:

  1. When did I get distracted?
  2. What was I doing at the time?
  3. What distracted me?
  4. How long was I distracted?

When doing the analysis in Tableau, I started doing what I always do by building lots of different views. I started with how many, but there weren’t any days that were massive outliers. When looking at how long I was distracted, there was a big outlier on Wednesday. That was because we had Caroline Beavon teaching in amazing data visualisation class at the Data School and she introduced us to an infographics design tool called Piktochart. This is when I distracted myself. It was fun to play with and got me thinking more about design.

I built several more views looking at the different dimensions against the different measures. Nothing particularly exciting…until I built a bubble chart in which I colored the bubbles by whether or not social media was the distraction.

I generally have a disdain for bubble charts, but this particular view helped me easily see how often social media is a distraction. Does this mean I’m on my phone too much? Probably!

The view above simply looks at how often, meanwhile looking at the bubble chart by how long the distractions lasted makes social media distractions look not so awful.

Lastly, I needed to find a view that would allow me to incorporate all of the dimensions along with the length of each distraction into a single view. I came up with this viz:

Here are some of the design decisions I made:

  • Show the day of the week left to right
  • Inside each day, show the distractions in order from first to last going left to right
  • To show what I was doing and what distracted me, I wanted to go with the idea of going from something to something else. I ended up with filled circles inside open circles. The open circle is what I was doing; the filled circle is what distracted me.
  • Create groups of activities and distractions so that there aren’t too many colors

Lastly, I liked what Stefani did for her week 44 with the lines, so I tried to do something similar with my postcard version while maintaining the view I created in Tableau.