D – Describe objectively what happened

The design project, data visualization, provides an opportunity to engage in data and demonstrate how visualization can facilitate understanding for others. This design seeks to change behavior, influence decision making, facilitate discovery and educate. The field of practice explores how visualizing data can help people to see the data and feel the data at the same time.

The brief  is to collect, organize and create and exhibitory data visualization about a city center cafe in Winchester for a public exhibition.

The design process was divided into four stages, including formulating the brief, working with the data, editorial thinking and developing design solution, which is suggested by Andy Krik. We were asked  to collect data, analyze and find the most interesting story, then visualizing the data which will be placed in an exhibition following the workflow.

I – Interpret the events

Firstly, we were given the topic a City Center Cafe and asked to formulate the brief. Therefore, we went for a site visiting and took some pictures of cafe, trying to find out an interesting story we can tell about a cafe. By site visiting, we were able to feel and experience problems in person.

The problem I wanted explore was paper coffee cups wastage. I found the phenomenon thta most of the customers tended to ask for a paper coffee cup even they were not taking away, making me interested to investigate the wastage problem of coffee paper cups. Here were some data I have planned to collect:

  • How many people eat in
  • How many people ordered take away coffee
  • How many people ordered take away coffee and sit in the cafe
  • How many cups went to recycle in the cafe
  • How many people bring with reusable cup

As discussed in tutorial, our group divied into two teams focusing on two different topics. On the day of data collection,  one group worked on tracking staffs and customers route and movement in Costa; while another team focused on the  the preference of customers on choosing coffee and wastage problems of both coffee grounds and paper coffee cups in Starbucks coffee. As it would be too obvious and crowded if 7 of us stayed in same shop.

After collecting data, we started to work with the data collected individually. By analyzing data, I found some data are interesting and shocking, my general conclusion are:

– Women tend to order cold beverages than men
– There is only 77 out of 312 paper cups went to recycle in store
– The peak time of Starbucks is after school rather than breakfast time
– 262 of beverages were ordered as eat in,
but 110 of them are served in paper coffee cups

Then I tried to research more on the phenomenon of paper coffee cups wastage in UK generally and found that,

– There are total 792 Starbucks in the UK
-There are total 3699 coffee chain in the UK in 2016
– Only 1.5% of drinks served at Starbucks are in reusable cup
– Paper cups aren’t 100% recyclable
– 5000 coffee cups sold every minutes in UK

Followed by editiorial thinking, from the data collected and secondary research, I made an assumption that approximately 7 million of paper coffee cups binned in UK everyday.

After the tutorial, our group decided to work in 2 teams, one team tried to visualize the date of staff anf customers’ movement in cafe, while my team worked on visualizing data of paper coffee cups wastage.

4 of us tried to develop a design solution later together. We started with clarifying our purpose which is raising awareness of people on paper cup wastage problem, and encourage people to use reusable cup.

I suggested we should make use of the shape of paper cups as the design layout of the exhibit. The question is, Are we able to produce a giant paper cup in two weeks time? Then we came up with an interactive idea to visualise our data.We decided to visualize the data by building two giant coffee cups. The cups compares the waste produced by paper cups and reusable cups, in order to bring out the message that waste can be reduced by using reusable cup.

The exhibit involves the participation of audiences, it allows audiences to choose their preference of coffee container and to visualize the data by filling up the giant cups with coffee grounds and paper cups.

After that, we started to draw some layout of the giant cups to list out what materials we need, so as a floor plan so that we could caculate the size of the cups and made prototype to ensure the idea is workable. Then we searched around art shop, stationery shop and poundland for the materials we needed to make two giant coffee cups. We seeked help from technican to cut the wood for the mainstay of the cups. Besides making the cups, we filmed a video to illustrate our concept, designed a zine to examine deeper understandings on our projects.

The task also tested our ability to present our work in an exhibition venue, we painted the wall and cleaned up the exhibiton venue, so as borrowing equitements including Ipad and lockable case from media store. Also how we made used of introduction sticker to communicate our works with public audiences.


Our team have paid our every efforts to produce an engaging exhibit. Therefore, we were pretty excited and looked forward to the exhibition.
However, I think the venue was not well-chosen. We had to share the space with fashion and textile, they took the corridor and the ground floor of west side bilding, which is a better venue that everyone came across would see their work. While our exhibtion venue was placed on the first floor outside Lecture A. So as lacking of promotion, our works could barely reach the audiences, I reckoned it as a failure, and a waste of our efforts.
For my group, we have been working seperately into two team for the entirely design process, turning out the final outcomes were quite confusing as a whole. However, both of the projects worked well individually, however, I think it would be better if we tried to link up two projects. The project can simply be improved by using same choice of colour and typoface.
So far I am satisfied with the final outcome.
E – Evaluate what you learned and P – Plan how this learning will be applied
The experience was disappointing due to the choice of venue that the lights weren’t turned on except for the first day, the works were being placed there without any audiences. In the future, I will pay attention to the venue we choose for exhibtion, whether the location and the condition in the room is a good place to exhibit. So as developing a fully digital marketing strategy to promote the event, attracting more audiences to join the exhibiton.
And other thing I learnt is how to work as a team. In this project, we were supposed to work as a group of 7, however, as there were lots of potential topics suggested in our group and the difference of interest, we divied into two teams. We should never had divided into two teams but rather sharing data and discussing how those data can be linked together.


Reflective write:DIEP
Anon, (2010). [online] Available at: https://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/lsu/content/2_assessmenttasks/assess_pdf/Reflective%20journal.pdf [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].
Reflective writing in Design
Anon, (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://www.dlsweb.rmit.edu.au/slc/studioKnowledgeObject/assets/studio_knowledge_object.pdf [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].