Week #10

User testing & plan

Last class we got a chance to show our progress to everyone. I got some interesting feedback I'd like to incorporate into the project in the coming weeks.

Most people seemed to understand the keyboard thing immediately, though they noted that the color scheme wasn't sufficiently clear. Another thing that came up was the possibility of being able to see the numbers behind the data — while I don't think the numbers themselves bear much significance (as long as I'm using a large dataset), I do think it would be great to show the percentage of occurrence of each key overall, perhaps while hovering with the mouse on each key.

The user feedback made me realize I want to expand on the keyboard idea, and have many more test cases, and some more functionalities. Aside from revealing the percentage of occurrence on hover, I'd like to explore the possibility of animating it over time — for example, if I'm showing the top baby names for 2023, it would be interesting to see how it changes over time — maybe not every year, but every 5-10 years, starting way before the age of personal computers. A visualization of this kind might reveal an interesting correlation between people's choices and using the keyboard.

Plan for the next 3 weeks

I'm going to continue working on the keyboard project. I think the final outcome will be in the form of a webpage that showcases all of the different datasets. The way I built the current keyboard should be easily scalable and reused, as it operates as a set of cascading functions, the first one sending in the data. The data itself, at least in both cases I used it so far, was the outcome of two different functions that took in the same data and produced an object of key-value pairs for each character. I'm not sure if there's a way to make it more efficient, as I'm not always calculating the occurrences in the same way (last week one as overall occurrence, and the other was just about the first letter).

Things I need to figure out:

  1. Scaling / distribution of colors — I struggled with this a lot last week and kept switching back and forth between different scales (linear, logarithmic, quantization and so on). I'm not sure there's a right answer to this but I need to research the different use cases of each and see what works best in my case.
  2. Additional functionality — starting with adding the hover interaction that reveals the percentage of occurrence for each character. More features might be needed for the final webpage, depending on the structure and layout.
  3. Animation — I'd really like to get into some animation in D3 and I think it'll be very useful in showing trends over time. It could also be used to visualize the order of characters as keypresses which makes a lot of sense in my case.

I wonder if I should work on all of these simultaneously, slowly improving this on all fronts, or whether it would be best to break it down to step-by-step assignments and do them one by one.

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Jasmine Nackash is a multidisciplinary designer and developer intereseted in creating unique and innovative experiences.