Florida: Why Are So Many Seniors Struggling?

Well, here it is. My first data visualization for Professor Cairo’s Intro to Data Visualization course.

The project brief: Create a visualization of financial hardship in Florida based on The A.L.I.C.E. Report provided by United Way. Requirements included:

  • Tell a compelling focus or narrative
  • Deliver a tabloid sized visualization
  • Deliver a mobile version
  • Apply all we have read and learned so far from lectures and our readings

Above are just a sample of my notes and outlining in an attempt to get a clearer picture of what story I wanted to tell. There’s a lot of repetition and it is reflective of feeling paralyzed as I was drowning in ideas and data. Apparently, this feeling is normal. This intel reinforces the fact that calling the experts is a must-do.

My first draft. Scary awful. Drowning and uncertain.
Another draft after a couple of weeks.

I learned a lot from this project and these are the top three:

Sketch early and often. Use the same data and try different visualizations. This is key for me. The benefit of experience is that I know my self and I need to see to understand and learn. Tools like Flourish make sketching much easier and faster.

Keep organized. I have to come up with a folder structure toute suite and at the moment, I decided to add the source to the beginning of the folder and files of the data I download. I was swimming in Excel files. Nothing is worse than spending the time hunting among hundreds of files for the source of the data.

Stop digging and start making. This is related to my first lesson on sketching early and often. Seriously, I could have gone on for weeks plunging deeper and deeper on the interconnectedness of our policies and the effect on our communities. It is easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. Still, what you find sometimes can be gems for other visualizations!

One more major project to go …

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