Visualization Workshop – South Africa

In April 2011, Kati Hyyppä and I  facilitated a one week visualization workshop for and with researchers at the Meraka Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop stood in context of the South Africa-Finland Knowledge Partnership for ICT (SAFIPA). The connection was established through Teemu Leinonen.

Visualization created for the Internet of Things research group; Illustration by Kati Hyyppä

To kick off the workshop, we gave a lecture on the use of visualization in scientific research, emphasizing stakeholder communication, clarifying data, and collaborative design. We presented an overview of visualization techniques in information design, data visualization, audiovisual storytelling and collaborative design, and pointed out concrete steps for deliberating benefits of the visualization techniques.

Visualizations were created during the workshop week for two of Meraka’s research groups, the Internet of Things and the National Recordal System. A participatory design approach was used to produce the visualizations by engaging both research groups in ideating the visualizations with us.

For the Internet of Things research group, two information graphics were designed: an abstracted visualization of their system, the Beachcomber, and an example scenario of how the Beachcomber system could be used. One of the graphics has been included in a book chapter. Here is an overview of the design process:

1. Understanding         2. Developing ideas   3. Collecting visual      4. Computer drawing
the context                                                            inspiration

For the National Recordal System research group an animated video (see above) was designed that presents Nikmas, a digital library for indigenous knowledge. The video includes a background and service description, and an example scenario of how to use the service. The video was created in one day, also in close collaboration with the researchers in one day. Here is an overview of the design process:

1. Understanding         2. Developing ideas   3. Visual inspiration   4. Creating animation
the context                                                           and script writing

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