Assignment 2: Visualization Design

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Assignment Due: February 8, 2010

In this assignment, you will design a visualization for a data set and provide a rigorous rationale for your design choices. The data set describes the amount of money countries have pledged to aid Haiti. It also includes data about how much money may be necessary to rebuild Haiti.

Haiti Aid Dataset

I originally found data about Haiti aid at the Guardian's DataBlog site. That site describes the data as follows:

Tracking the ever-increasing pledges of financial aid and other assistance for quake-stricken Haiti is a difficult business, but the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is attempting to do just that. The OCHA has the tricky task of trying to orchestrate the efforts of the dozens of aid agencies either in Haiti or on their way there. Its list of donors tracks both monetary sums and donations in the form of assistance and equipment, both from governments and corporations. ...

The data is a Google spreadsheet. It contains several sheets, but the main sheet looks something like this:


You can download this data from the Google Spreadsheet directly by clicking on the Edit this page link and then selecting File > Download As menu option. Or you can download the data as a CSV file I saved on 1/24/10.


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.

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?

Understanding the data and designing the visualization may take some time. So plan accordingly.

How to create your wiki page

To turn in this assignment you should modify the wiki page you created for part 1a.

You should be able to get to that page by entering a url of the following form into your browser:

To upload images to the wiki, first create a link for the image of the form [[Image:image_name.jpg]] (replacing image_name.jpg with a unique image name for use by the server). This will create a link you can follow that will then allow you to upload the image. Alternatively, you can use the "Upload file" link in the toolbox to upload the image first, and then subsequently create a link to it on your wiki page.

Add a link to your finished assignment here

One you are finished editing the page, add a link to it here with full name as the link text. The wiki syntax will look like this: *[[A2-FirstnameLastname|Firstname Lastname]]. Hit the edit button for this section to see how I created the link for my name.

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