Day three and today’s challenge was a change in perspective – quite literally. The goal was not to build from a supplied or obtained dataset. But to build in way that ultilises the natural path a viewers eye will follow and apply this understanding to better communicate key visual elements.

First, we has a session on great designing and the science behind it, which was very interesting. It detailed the importance of each selection for of composition, layout, typography and colour. One of the most intriguing points for me was the research on the AI generated vision tracking, as seen in the density map. Higher density areas show the path our eyes with tend to take.

And the challenge itself? Using dummy data and a chosen business logo; make considered design choices for placement, sizing, spacing, font and colour. We also needed to describe any psychological reasons behind those selections. Success in this area was determined by an algorithmic AI program that calculated our individual VAS Visual Attention Results – with a high percentage score indicating an excellent technique application.

The Logo

For my logo selection, the one that caught my eye was CD Projekt. They are a gaming company responsible for the release of the popular ‘Witcher’ series and more recently a successful Netflix TV show. At the time the show was released in December 2019, the books on the series rapidly sold out due to demand and resupply was slow. So, I thought it would be fun to build my mock dashboard around Witcher ‘sales’ for both books and games.

The Psychology

A little more background reading into the subject of visual attention (VA) demonstrated that anything with a ‘face’ can really draw the eye. Scroll down to ‘Taking control of your designs’ and note the baby’s face here and how in the second image, the baby’s sideways position creates a ‘line of sight’ that also draws the eye to the text beside it.

I was very curious to see if I could use this ‘line of sight’ as a psychological tactic for my dashboard. Granted, including a ‘face’ depends very much on whether doing so is appropriate to your topic. But I felt it was feasible here and I thought this would be a fun approach to see if it would result in a high Visual Attention score. With this in mind, I found a side-on image of the main Witcher character, Geralt, and had him ‘look’ at my first chart.

Font, Colour and Structure

I selected a Witcher themed text font and went with a dark colour scheme and contrasting charts. I made use of dead space by creating a dividing region (resisting the urge to fill out all useable space).

Additionally, I paid attention to where my two ‘key’ charts (and logo) were placed. The first (Sales of the Witcher Series) at a predicted high VA area in Geralt’s ‘line-of-sight’. The second (Number of Game Pre-Orders) in a vertical placement in another high VA area. Both aim to follow an ‘F-Pattern’ structure.

My final dashboard looked like this;

Upon submission, my VAS Visual Attention Results were as follows;

AREA OF INTEREST

Order of highest scoring: Lower right bar chart, upper right lollipop chart, map chart and line chart.

My two main charts did score the highest, although possibly the upper right one could be improved. Perhaps by lightening the background or changing the colours in this chart to improve it’s contrast further.

HEAT MAP

Order of highest density: The character face, the logo, lower right bar chart, ‘Witcher’ label, upper right lollipop chart, map chart and line chart.

Faces certainly do draw the eye! It was also good to see the logo, label and two main charts also drew the most attention.

HOTSPOTS

Order of highest scoring: Character image and upper right lollipop chart, lower right bar chart, ‘Witcher’ label, map chart and line chart.

The line-of-sight tactic seems to work! With an excellent 98% score across the character image and chart.

GAZE SEQUENCE

Order of Path: Character image (1) to Logo (2) down the right hand side to the lower right bar chart (3) and then drawn back to the face (4).

Pretty good, since the path does cross all the key dashboard elements and returns to the start. Although some more direct focus on the upper right chart, perhaps through improved contrast to make it a better path point, might be a potential improvement.

Fun!

I enjoyed this challenge and really liked how we could so quickly assess the effectiveness of our dashboarding efforts in such detail! It certainly demonstrates how constructively planning out the elements and key messages could critically impact the subsequent attention received.

Tamara Allcock
Author: Tamara Allcock

Tamara has an interesting background in veterinary science, data analytics and retail. She discovered her passion for analytics while working on a range of research projects involving Australian and exotic wildlife. She was excited to learn about the Data School and the opportunities it provided to develop this interest into a career path. It may be a common preference, but she thinks you can’t go wrong the variety of options a delicious pizza offers. In her spare time, Tamara is an avid reader and watcher of fantasy, science-fiction or assorted pop culture and also enjoys painting, craft projects and writing.