Curarium is essentially a huge amalgamation of some exquisite data — paintings, photographs and visual media content. While developing a platform for this extensive data-set, we noted that it’s purpose is not just what this data represents, but also the data itself. And how do we intend on presenting this data? Enter, visualizations!
A distinct advantage when dealing with huge data-sets is the population and representation of it, in varied colors and schemata – which make for elegant visualizations. But an efficient one requires to go beyond just the pretty. So the first challenge presented itself in the form of short-listing visualizations, that would fit into the frame-work of explorations, collections and spotlights within Curarium. They were to be navigable, embeddable and fulfil requirements of functionality. Keeping this in mind, we finalized a couple of them – thumbnail views, tree-maps, time-lines, geo-spatial maps and a few more. In the selection of each of the visualizations, we had to consider the use-cases and make them application specific. For instance,
- In the thumbnail view, the different visual media are present in the form of thumb-nails. This was a more obvious choice in terms of actually being able to view the content that was being explored and the aesthetic appeal from a user perspective (humans seem to like to know what they’re getting into before-hand).
- The tree-map plays out rather wonderfully through the range in color spectrum and increasing sizes of each individual record. An organized treat for the eyes is probably an appropriate description.
- The integrated time-line with geo-spatial maps provide a functional representation of a record over space-time. During exploration, this would render a huge deal of context when it comes to the questions of when’s and where’s, and establishes a former-latter relationship among the records themselves.
Each of the picks were unanimously voted for trial, testing and application into the website. Presenting data that could easily be referred to as “my precious” requires tremendous care and a severe control in excitement. So in process of the make-over from a dump of JSON files to carefully picked beautiful visualizations, we are awaiting the perfect “Voila!” moment.