Adventures in Data Visualization

Project background
Adventures in data visualization is a summer workshop dedicated to explorations into the field of data visualization by means of computational design approaches and technologies. The 2017 workshop explored VR visualizations.

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ADV17 teaser
ADV17 video documentation

Fabio Franchino (tutor), Serena Cangiano (coordinator), Giovanni Profeta (coordinator & tutor), Fabian Frei, Marco Lurati (fablab expert).

My role
Co-tutoring the workshop with a focus on ideation and design.

The context
Since 2014 the Master of Interaction Design at SUPSI organises intensive summer workshops dedicated to explorations into the field of data visualization using computational design approaches and technologies.

In 2017, I co-tutored a special edition of the workshop dedicated to the exploration of VR visualisations. Together with a fantastic team of tutors and coordinators, I guided the workshop participants to create data-driven experiences.

Open data
The workshop focuses on the opportunities for leveraging the power of using Open Data for creative projects. Participants were provided with the OASI repository –the platform of the Environmental Data Lab of Canton Ticino– and introduced to its ecosystem of values and resources.

The process
By accessing and manipulating open datasets, the participants design and develop projects that make raw data perceivable through virtual reality experiences. The workshop offered an opportunity to reimagine data visualizations in VR to create new and novel user experiences.

The workshop lasts 4 days and alternates experts lectures to hands-on coding & design activities and tutoring sessions. Our tutoring sessions aimed to transfer the fundamental knowledge of D3.js (a JavaScript library for producing dynamic, interactive data visualizations in web browsers) and A-Frame (a web framework for building VR experiences) and design approaches to data visualization.

My role changed according to the phase of the workshop and stages of the projects. Together with Fabio Franchino, I was responsible for the structure and content of the workshop. I have run an ideation session with participants and actively supported some participants with creating designs. During the workshop, both tutors and coordinators collaborate closely together to create a fun and challenging environment and give the best support to participants.

In groups and individually, the participants created 5 VR prototypes that explored different datasets.

We wrapped up the intense & fun four days with an exhibition at the charming lake of Lugano. Guests and curious passers-by could explore the projects and engage with participants. Visitors reactions were satisfying!