Data Table and Graphs

Data taken from: http://www2.rwu.edu/depository/publicsafety/cleryannualsecurityreport.pdf

This project was by far one of the most difficult. I feel as though as we move forward, the assignments become tougher to accomplish. I did not know how difficult it was going to be to create “simple” bar graphs and line graphs. I mean, we learn to create such graphs in elementary and middle school, so why should it be so complicated today?

The first step was to actually find some data on Roger Williams University. I looked through the online website for various statistics but had a hard time trying to find usable data for the table I would create. I searched through the website and eventually found some data over the years of 2008-2011 of the increase in tuition here at Roger Williams. Although the difference in price may affect us as students when we look at the individual costs, the graphs of the data did not show a significant change and therefore did not create an effective story. The search seemed futile until I found the public safety records from 2008 to 2010 of the various student violations report. The entire table shows various, specific forms of violations with their respective definitions. In my table, I only used the data from the Disciplinary Actions on Campus in the Residence Halls, since I felt that other students could relate to this information. Seeing the different violations could help keep students safer and more aware of their decisions that they make in college. There were other data, but these pieces of information did not seem pertinent to what I wanted to show in the graphs.

I next began to create a table of this data. I thought it would be simple enough, but it became difficult when I went to create the graph on Microsoft Excel. I decided to go with the bar graph to display the differences in the number of different violations. I highlighted the table information and inserted the graph into the program. I was having major issues as the graph was not labeled correctly, the scale was not labeled correctly, and the data were in the wrong axes. I decided to abandon the computer software in order to effectively hand draw the graphs. I started to draw the table and was becoming extremely frustrated with being a perfectionist. Eventually I went back to the computer and just created a different table of the same information. Finally a graph was created!

I then decided to try to make a line graph out of this information. This type of graph helps to show data over time and how it changes. It shows a significant drop in the number of “Liquor Law Violations” from 2008 to 2009, regardless of there still being almost five hundred violations. This may signify that the alcohol policy on campus became stricter the next year. It could also show that students were more aware of the rules and did not want to pay the consequences of breaking the school rules.

According the Tufte’s Principle, the visual representation should depict the most amount of information with the least amount of ink, while maintaining the truth (Ware). I feel that in these two graphs, I have effectively displayed the changing number of violations of Roger Williams University’s various rules of conduct through the years 2008-2010. The line graph seems much more efficient in portraying the elements represented in Public Safety’s Report.

If I had more time to complete this assignment, I would most likely have found a way to add more of the table of the entire Public Safety Report. While most of the data show no results, but students could definitely benefit from the graphic representation of past violations so they can be aware of their decision-making while attending the school.

Flow Chart – How to Buy a Book from Amazon

The flow chart project was most definitely easier than the last two assignments for this class. There were some areas where I questioned myself, but overall I found it to be actually fun to draw. I almost always purchase my textbooks on Amazon since they are almost always extremely cheaper than buying them at the bookstore. I am always buying many different things on Amazon.com, but I did find that it was a bit difficult to actually spell out every piece of the process, step-by-step. Buying merchandise and fun trinkets and items on Amazon really comes like second nature to me, so it was interesting to think about exactly how to purchase a book. I do not know how many Amazon book flow charts you bear to read, but it may have been more interesting for all of us to create a flow chart on our own topic of choice.

To begin my flow chart, I actually had to sit down and think of exactly how to purchase anything on Amazon. I finally thought to actually go on the website and act out the process. I began with thinking of a book title. (If I actually had some money in my bank account and did not spend money on my plane ticket to study abroad in Paris then I probably would have bought something). I began with an oval shape with “Amazon.com” at the top in the center. The next step is a decision, in a diamond shape, that asks “do you have the title of a book?” If “yes,” then you should do the process, in a rectangle shape, of “typing the book title in the search bar.” If “no,” you should “think of a book title,” then proceed to typing that title in the search bar. Next you should determine “is the book available?” in a decision diamond. If “yes,” proceed to “click on the title.” If “no,” there are two options:  “Think of a title of a book” (again) or “Search another website” as an endpoint to Amazon.com. Is the book “new” or “used”? This decision has two outcomes; those being of course “new” or “used,” but both answers essentially lead to the next process of “click[ing] on the book that you want to purchase.” Then you would advance to “add [the book] to cart,” and “click ‘cart.’” Then click “proceed to checkout” to complete order. Next you should determine if you are a “new” or “returning” customer. If you are like me and are a compulsive online shopper, you are most definitely a “returning” customer. Sign into your account and “submit [your] order” (oval endpoint). If you are a “new” customer, which means you probably have not discovered the amazing world of Amazon, then you can “create an account” by “enter[ing] your personal and billing information.”  Finally sign in to your account and submit your order.

The colors I chose for the various shapes of the flow chart were completely at random based on what I thought would look nice and not hurt the eyes of the audience. With my being partially blind, I completely empathize with those who have a difficult time seeing images clearly. If I had more time to complete this assignment, I do not think that I would change much. (Although at the last minute I realized I forgot to draw an arrow between two processes so I frantically completed it with the Paint program on the computer). Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome of this simple, yet thought-provoking, assignment.

Improve this Image

http://haysvillelibrary.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/hot-topic-volcanoes/

This project proved extremely difficult for me. I did not think that there could be anything more difficult than the “how-to-make a pizza” project, but this one was so hard to do. The biggest challenged that I faced was actually finding a graphic to improve.  Google.com is not very reliable because there are so many things on the internet, almost too many. Finally, when I thought all hope was lost, I found an image of a volcano eruption. This diagram is similar to the one that we learned about in elementary school in the third grade. I remembered some of the parts of the results when a volcano erupts. I even did a project on the deadly eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. In the science department, I am not very knowledgeable, but volcanic eruptions are so cool.

Let us start with the good things about the original image. I really like how the parts of the volcano are clearly numbered with some arrows. The diagram parts are big enough so that they can be clearly distinguished among each other. The colors of the diagram are also very bright and create a sense of easy readability for the viewers.

I also noticed many flaws in the design of this volcanic eruption. In the original image, the parts of the volcanic eruption are numbered with the corresponding word bank at the bottom of the page. (This word bank was removed when I copied the image from the website.) When trying to read the parts of the volcano, I found myself moving back and forth from the word bank and back to the volcano. After several times of doing this, my eyes and head hurt and I was starting to get dizzy. This was the first thing that I decided to fix. In my up-to-date version of the graphic, I decided to remove the word bank and the numbers altogether. Instead of using a number system, I decided to put the text labels of the diagram directly next to or on top of the parts of the volcano. This would decrease the dizziness in the viewers’ (and my) heads as they would not have to constantly flip-flop back and forth. By the end of my re-drawing the image, I felt that it was not completely finished. Then it hit me:  There was no title on the diagram. I added the title Parts of an Erupting Volcano. Although it may be obvious to most of us what the image depicts, but there are some out there who have never seen a volcano.

If I had more time to work on this project (even though we had extra time), I would have made the colors brighter to make it easier to view for the audience. My picture-taking skills are not excellent but this was the best shot that I could get with the lighting in my room. I found various other images to use before coming to a decision with this one. There was an awful one of intricate wiring with poor instructions next to the diagram, but I did not have time to create an improved version. With more artistic skill, I definitely believe that my new and improved diagram decreases the cognitive load for the audience.