Robert L. Martin Creative Consulting, New Media Design, Photography, and Printing

Robert L. Martin
Wayfinder: Identifying Risk

The wayfinder project has been going on for over half a year now, and while I’m excited that we’ve identified a large number of students, I’m not completely certain the process is as efficient as it could be. For the last information pull I included more columns of information into the graphics, expecting counselors to be frustrated with the amount of data included in the visual chart. I was pleasantly pleased that they were thrilled with these graphs as well.

This experiment demonstrated that the visual medium of colors on a grid is effective at reducing the data. Counselors are asking what else can be included, and I wonder what the “bandwidth” limit is to this form of communication. I’ve seen heat maps of NBA statistics with 15 columns, perhaps I should try for that next time.

I am still concerned about reducing students to a series of statistics, although these graphics allow for broad interpretations by the viewer. By including more data the viewer begins to see the student as more of a whole, but still only represented by the information we provide. My goal is to have the counselors use these graphics to inform a discussion with the student regarding their performance, although I know that images and graphics have power. Need to look into the visual rhetoric and semiotic interpretation of graphs in the future.

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