Nathan Griffiths is one of the 2018 winners of the Journalism 360 Challenge. See all the winners.
- Nathan Griffiths, Visual Journalist (formerly of The New York Times and The Associated Press)
- Centre for Digital Media graduate students
How effective is data visualization when used in immersive, augmented and virtual reality environments? Existing research, while limited, generally shows that immersive visualizations outperform traditional 3D and in some cases, 2D visualizations, with improved engagement and accuracy, better retention and more intuitive understandings. The majority of these studies, however, focus on “big data” – large, high dimensional datasets and often target educators, scientists and professional data analysts rather than the general public.
The project aims to study the effectiveness of immersive visualizations targeting the general public and using formats more commonly found in newsrooms – such as charts, maps, timelines or network graphs – by conducting a series of user tests on a number of immersive visualizations. The project will have two parts: creating the immersive visualizations and conducting user tests on the completed visualizations.
In the first phase of the project, 3-4 immersive visualizations will be created in conjunction with the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver. The CDM offers a professional graduate program in media design with a focus on partnering students with real world clients to develop prototypes and early-stage projects and has been working extensively in the XR space in the past few years. Graduate students in the program would be used to develop prototype visualizations in A/VR that would be used in the following phase.
The second phase of the project will consist of user testing and interviews with a small group of participants who will be asked to view & explore the visualizations. At this point the focus will be on measuring how users interact with the visualizations and developing interview questions to gage effectiveness. I would expect to hire a UX consultant or similar specialist to advise and assist with developing audience measurements. An online report and website will be published to highlight the findings and suggest best-practices. The code used in developing the visualizations would be published to GitHub.