Visualizing the Top 500 Albums rated by the Rolling Stones' Magazine.

TLDR; A data-visualization of the Top 500 albums rated by the Rolling Stones Magazine categorized by genre.

This project is my first hand-on approach to programming my own data visualization, using the dataset found on Kaggle, visualizing the Top 100 Best Albums rated by the Rolling Stones' Magazine.  While the project is not live, the explorations are a deep-dive in interactive visualizations with focus on the The Visual Information-Seeking Mantra created by Ben Schneider in 1996 — overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand.
  • Data Visualization
  • 2 Months
  • Nov – Dec 2019

Top 500 Albums

Ideation

After obtaining my dataset, I started to sketch out potential designs for the data-visualization. An approach I took was that even though it is just a sketch, to try and approximate the data in the sketch so that I could see how much the data fluctutuates. Another thing I needed to consider was if the design was realistic to create with me knowledge of Processing.
Miscellaneous sketches & formulas for polar coordinate codes (with the help of my dad)

Exploration & Data Glitches

Exploring various shapes and forms to visualize the data-set. Some explorations even came out as an accident, aka Data Glitches. For more information on data glitches as inspiration, check out @dataglitches.
Processing Explorations

Feature Prioritization

The MoSCoW Method — used as a tool to determine the prioritization of elements — enables me to focus my time on more vital elements of the visualization. Since coding with Processing is new to me, this was an important step so that I do not spend too much of my time on minor details without consolidating the important interactions.

Final Visualization

This final design answers: (a) what the top rated albums are, (b) what is the most popular genres for the albums, and (c) the artists that created these albums. The data visualization artwork is illustrated through its own musical album. The programs use of filtering and hovering gives a more in-depth look than what a printed piece would be able to do.
Final Visualization with different numbers of data points
Screen recording of the final visualization

Reflection & Takeaways

Overall, the project challenged my Processing skills to create a visualization working with polar coordinates and quadratics. I am happy that the initial design concept did not need to be changed due to a lack of coding knowledge, as I was able to overcome certain mathematical obstacles with the help of peers. 

Some next steps that I would like to impliment in the design is (a) being able to filter by ranking number and (b) when the user hovers over an album, all other albums with the same artist would be highlighted.

As well, there are a couple bugs in the program that I was not able to correct. The first would be that the type looks a little distorted at small sizes. I had tried to use different typefaces or importing the typefaces differently, but nothing seemed to work. Another issue would be the slight lag when using the filter drop-down. The user needs to hit a specific spot for the filter to work, which does not make it very user friendly as people may think that it is not working.

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