Life is fast for Gen Z. Constantly surrounded with text messages, tweets, snaps, dm’s and other digital clutter, people of this generation face an endless game of tug of war for their attention. Information must attract and maintain one’s attention or it’ll be lost with all the other data floating around the internet. This is entirely where the tool of information visualization shines. Infographics are nothing new in the year 2022. In fact, humans have been visually representing data for centuries. However, today’s infographics and visualizations are unique due to current technology. With advancements such as the cell phone, the internet, etc., data is readily available for most computer software to use and generate some form of infographic. Additionally as devices become even more sophisticated it seems that the infographics become more personalized for each individual. Whether it be the number of flights a person climbed for the past month or one’s listening habits for the last year, infographics are inundated with personal habits for each individual. This report will share common infographics that are generated using data from one’s habits in the form of a timeline. Which you can find below.
This timeline was made by using Timeline.js, a website and software that was created by the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. Timeline.js utilizes Google Sheets in order to populate the data points in the timeline. The URL is then copied over from Google Sheets and pasted into Timeline.js where the URL specific to the live timeline is finally produced. I found most of my sources through searching Google. I knew which main infographics I wanted to feature due to prior experience with them. I mostly needed sources to figure out the dates at which the described products were made or introduced to the public. I tried to choose photos that displayed actual features and information that users would see when using the tools described in my timeline. You can find my Google Sheets data here.
To make my timeline I followed the instructions above. Timeline.js provides a Google Sheets template that is pre-filled with some sample data to show how the tool works and display what maps to what. In terms of rationale, I thought a decent amount of my images were already pretty colorful so I thought it would be nice to have a dark background to have the images pop and provide examples of the features of each interface and product. I wanted to make sure each photo had a credit tag that links to where I found the photo, but they are listed in the references down below as well. Since the photos were also primarily product shots, I felt that they did not need captions.
I was personally surprised to see how much happened during the last ten years. Almost all of the products I’ve mentioned felt like they’ve been around for even longer. One concern about the use of personal data to make infographics is privacy. All of these products require a large amount of computing data as constant monitoring of users. Privacy concerns have been becoming more and more vocal alongside the advancements made in tech, so it will definitely be worthy to monitor the development of all these technologies.
In terms of what I’d do differently, I would spend more time connecting the technologies I researched. I had a hard time grouping the elements of my timeline into a title. I also feel like I could’ve gotten away with a bit more personalization despite my goal of mostly having product shots that display the infographic being discussed. It’s hard to decide what’s distracting and what’s under-stimulating or boring.