Personal Resume Data Visualization

Team Member:  Siyang(Autumn) Jing

The Personal Resume Visualization is designed to tell my personal story in an interesting and clear way. This resume is used for job interviews, whose audience is interviewers. Because both the interviewer and I are designers, the goal is that the visualization map is beautiful and easy to understand.

Though refection of my personal experiences, I categorize my data to three layers, which are concluded as three key words, brad global view, professional achievements as well as reliable and efficient personality. The first layer, the outer one, talked about the first key word, global view. This associated with my education background, my practice, the activities the teaching experience and awards. The middle layer is my design projects throughout my academic career. The project are labeled with professional tags, which will make my work type very clear to the audience. The inner layer illustrated my special personalities, which will benefit my future career. All the three layers will tell the audience my personal story.

It is not only a personal data visualization for me, but also an opportunity to reflect on myself and make progress in the future.


Community Engagement

By Krithi Chandrakasan, Sharlene Chiu, and Willie Zhu

The Go Boston 2030 initiative reached out to members of the community to gather their questions about the urban transportation system of tomorrow. While responders were typically curious about congestion and flying cars, the most memorable piece of information from the dataset was a comment about the Go Boston 2030 initiative itself. “Resident #engagement at its best, in my hometown!” a local Bostonian told the surveyors. 

We decided to create an interactive game that tells the story of a fictional city mayor trying to increase the level of engagement with their constituents. This game is targeted toward people who want to play a role in Boston’s governmental system and are uncertain about what sort of changes to make in urban transportation.

In the game, the player moves around a map of Boston and meets with residents of different neighborhoods. These residents ask you, the mayor, questions about transportation, and the game keeps track of the category to which the question belongs. At the end, the player can take a look at the types of issues they received to think about the next steps in transportation.

Our goal is that after speaking with the different community members, the player has learned how someone, particularly a governmental figure, can lend an ear to others to better understand people’s concerns and visions for their city.

Draw My Life – Johnice

By Ashley Wang, Nikita Waghani, and Lisa Wu

Data sources: Food for Free dataset, 2013 Annual Report


The data say that the Food For Free program’s Home Delivery service serves 95 homebound Cambridge individuals in the year 2015, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables. One of these individuals, Johnice, relates how an accident forced him into an early retirement and made it difficult to carry groceries, putting him in a position of “food insecurity”. We wanted to tell this story because Johnice’s story resonated with us and really showed us how much of a positive impact this program had on people.

Our audience is the elderly and disabled Cambridge seniors who may want to learn more about Food for Free and their Home Delivery service. Our goals are to encourage these individuals to overcome the stigma of asking for help, and apply for the Food For Free program. Our original intent was to create a radio piece out of his story. Since our target audience isn’t extremely internet-savvy, we thought that this would be the best way to reach them. However, research shows that Facebook is also extremely popular for the over-50 demographic, and we decided to make a shareable video as well.

The result is a Draw-My-Life style video. This style of video was an extremely popular fad in 2013. In this type of video, the narrator talks about an event in their life, or their entire life, set to a fast-motion video of the author drawing illustrations on a whiteboard of key figures and events. We envision this video as part of a series of videos shared from the Food for Free Facebook page. For future work, we would draw stories from the 2013 Status Report, and improve the quality of the Draw-My-Life videos.

Rescue Food, Provide Meals

Team: Almaha Almalki / Christian Feld / Erick Friis / Sam Resnick

The Food for Free dataset leads us to three interesting conclusions:

  1. The sheer amount of food that is produced, stored, and then subsequently dumped in the Boston area alone is massive.
  2. The Food for Free organisation is creating a large impact by simply rerouting that food to become meals for the hungry
  3. Still, so many more people in the Boston area suffer from food insecurity.

We wanted to package those three findings in a compelling story that includes a call to action to help Food for Free. The format we chose is a short video with one clear message: Support Food for Free in their mission to provide more people in need with food. Our target audience is people who shop in supermarkets who could be compelled to tell their supermarket to participate in Food for Free. These people would likely have an interest in social issues and would be looking for ways to make a difference. Our thought was to publish this video in a social media setting. Because of this, we decided to make sure that the basic message could come across in a short time period. The graphic nature of the video would draw in the viewer, then the minimal narration would send the message home. We decided to narrate the video in our sketch presentation, but in our social media version, we would include subtitles with the narration so viewers would not need volume.

To make it a personal story we use establish a central symbol: the plate. One plate,one meal, helping one person. We calculated that every 15 seconds Food for Free rescues an amount of food equivalent to one meal. We illustrate this time span by turning the plate into a ticker.

In second step we show that in those 15 seconds Food For Free can provide a meal for one person, however there are far more people being left hungry. Every second, 8 people are left hungry in the Boston area. As the ticker progresses around a second time, these people appear surrounding it. When the plate is completed, one of the people turns green, symbolizing one person that food for free has fed. It is clear from this that Food for Free is making a difference, but that there is much need for help. That is where the call to action comes in. By providing the audience with the link to the website at the end of the video, they are prompted to click on it and would be greeted with different ways in which they could help.

You can view our (silent) sketch below.

Marching for a Better Tomorrow

By Paul Choi, Miguel Garrido, and Lawrence Sun

For several years now, the goal of stopping the planet from warming an additional two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels has dominated international climate talks. According to scientific projections, a “no action scenario” may lead to 4.5C of warming by 2100, so it is imperative to pursue the under-2C path by the end of the century. With climate change, a few degrees can make a significant difference.

However, it can be difficult for the average person to understand the meaning of a couple of degrees in terms of long-term climate change scenarios. Some may wonder what the big deal is with 4.5 degrees, or how that differs from 2 degrees. For some people, this lack of understanding or knowledge may be a barrier to taking more action on climate change.

To address this issue, we designed a flyer that tells a story to contrast two possible climate change scenarios (2C vs. 4.5C) in order to educate and incentivize people to make a personal commitment to combat climate change. In particular, our flyer is designed to convince Boston residents to take part in the upcoming March for Science on April 22 (Earth Day).

Our Flyer: Using Qualitative Data to Personalize Climate Change

To make the 2C and 4.5C scenarios as concrete as possible for our target audience (Boston residents), we picked three different local attractions and illustrated the effects of climate change for each: 1) Back Bay (showing the effects of rising sea levels); 2) MIT campus (showing the effects of severe weather) and 3) whale watching (showing endangered animal life).

The three images at the bottom of the flyer correspond to the under-2C scenario and represent the “normal” Boston that residents know: the streets aren’t flooded, there is regular weather (normal snowfall), and whale watching is a popular tourist attraction. This is the scenario that would result from taking significant action to combat climate change.

The top three images, however, show the catastrophic 4.5C scenario using the same local landmarks and attractions: many streets are permanently flooded (canals have to be built), severe weather is a regular occurrence, and the whale population is severely threatened (beached whales are a lot more common). This is the scenario that would result from simply doing nothing (“business as usual”).

The key message of the flyer is that people must make a personal choice: if they march and take action on climate change, the under-2C scenario may be within reach. However, if they don’t march and don’t take action, the disastrous 4.5 scenario may become reality.


We believe our flyer is effective because it educates people about a concept that is difficult to grasp (small changes in the Earth’s temperature over time) by using relatable local landmarks and attractions to illustrate the impact of climate change. The flyer tells a compelling narrative that clearly contrasts two possible scenarios based on scientific projections. In doing so, it invites the viewer to make a personal choice and commitment to take part in the March for Science and combat climate change.

Granted, only participating in the march on April 22 will not lead to the 2C scenario. Climate change is an incredibly complex and difficult global challenge that requires fundamental changes in human behavior to combat its effects. However, people that aren’t currently taking action have to start somewhere, and the first step is awareness. To that end, we believe our flyer can play a small but critical role in educating and incentivizing people to combat climate change, starting in our community.


Healthy Eating for Everyone

Team members: Margaret Tian, Tony Zeng, Kimberly Yu

Slides located here.

Many people in the US rely on food assistance programs (ex: SNAP) to meet their day to day needs – over half a million people are on SNAP in Massachusetts alone. SNAP recipients are given roughly $1.50 to spend on each meal, which means they often forego more expensive fresh produce. Programs such as Project Bread bridge the hunger gap by providing healthy, inexpensive food for people who are otherwise unable to afford it. We want to tell this story to raise awareness and support for Project Bread and related programs. Our audience is MIT students, most of whom are on the meal plan and are not usually aware of how privileged we are. We hope to display our slides on screens located in dorms with dining halls to catch students’ attention while they wait for eat. Our goals are to raise awareness about food insecurity and encourage MIT students to engage in activities that help end hunger in our local community such as participating in the Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger on May 7th, donating to Project Bread, and minimizing food waste when eating in MIT dining halls.

We used the Food for Free data source as well as Project Bread’s website to gather data about food insecurity in Massachusetts and Project Bread’s impact. To get an idea of what a typical meal for people on SNAP would be, we used a blog post written by a graduate student at Johns Hopkins who participated in the SNAP challenge. Ideally, we would gather more robust data on SNAP recipients’ diets. We couldn’t find data on how much Project Bread cost for one person, so we estimated it to be the same cost as providing SNAP (~$1.50/meal). 

By comparing a SNAP meal with a typical MIT dining meal, we hope to bring a more personal aspect to our message. Many MIT students are dissatisfied with dining, but by comparing the food content, amount, and cost, we clearly show how lucky we are and emphasize how important it is for people struggling with food insecurity to have easy access to healthy food. This emphasis is iterated through a quote from Project Bread about healthy food being a right that everyone should have access to. To put things into perspective, we also include a slide that gives context to the impact we can have. Finally, we end with a slide that calls MIT students to action and encourages them to join Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger on May 7th. The entire slideshow would be automated and play quickly enough that students in dining line would see the entire message.

#GoGreenBoston2030 – Margaret Yu, Tina Quach, Divya Goel

The data says that there are people from many different parts of Boston that have all questions about how Boston’s transportation system can be more sustainable and environmentally friendly by 2030.  We want to tell this story because we believe that highlighting the common theme across the various parts of Boston can foster empathy and a sense of community–one that can push for environmentally-friendly change in Boston’s transportation system.

Our audience are the adult commuters of the Boston community–whether they use private or public transportation, whether or not they walk or bike or drive or take the train–they each lead different lives that often does not leave room for empathy. Our goal is to encourage empathy between diverse adults of the Boston community and foster thought about how Boston make its transportation system and infrastructure environmentally friendly and sustainable and demonstrate. We want to people to be able to empathize with others who do not share the same neighborhood that they do and be able to identify differences and similarities about the questions people ask.

Our data came from Go Boston 2030’s Question Campaign, which asks people in 20 different Boston zip codes to share their questions about getting around Boston in the future. The data, consists of the textual representation of the questions organized by region or zip code, and labeled with a relevant category (e.g. sustainability/climate change, experiential quality, safety, access, innovation). We filtered the questions to keep only questions related to sustainability and the environment to focus on the specific theme of climate change.

We’ve designed and sketched an installation that allows people to hear others in the Boston community voice their questions–rather than just reading them–and localize where each question comes from. We envision that each Boston county will have a copy of the installation, located near a transit station. The installation will consist of a big touch-enabled screen depicting a map of Boston. The experience begins with a short video of questions from around Boston being voiced, while its origin is highlighted on the map. Then, the installation becomes interactive–people can tap areas they are interested in hearing from and listen to questions from these areas. Furthermore, they can also choose to contribute, sharing their own questions about the future of getting around sustainably in Boston by hitting a button to record their question.

We also wanted the observer to be able to understand the context behind some of the questions, and to continue thinking about it after leaving the booth. So, in the interactive portion at the end, after a user hears a question from an area, they will be presented with a QR code linking to an article or video about someone’s commute that led them to ask one of the questions just played. The observer can then scan this and experience the story on their journey/commute from the booth to their next destination. For example, the QR code on the right would give the backstory to this question from Dorchester: How do we make public transportation inviting so that people prefer taking it than driving their cars? The QR code on the left would give the backstory to this question from East Boston: Can we give more space to pedestrians and cyclists to make the choice to walk/bike for short trips the best option?

This installation is an appropriate and effective way to tell the data story because it is an open, flexible way for someone on the go (or someone on a leisurely walk) to hear other perspectives from around the Boston community. It is also appealing to people trying to go places (our audience!) because it uses a map. Hearing each question voiced by a real human, promotes the idea of really listening to one another as well as letting your voice be heard. Empathy is fostered because each question reflects a particular perspective and twist on the topic of sustainability.



The GoBoston Hackathon

Team: Kevin Zhang, Nina Mary Lutz, Jingxian Zhang

We looked at the GoBoston 2030 dataset and were intrigued by some of the ideas proposed by Boston residents, which ranged from practical problem in transportation system like bus ticket price to innovative technologies like flying cars. With all these inspiring ideas and questions, suppose there is a GoBoston 2030 Civil Engineering Hackathon to encourage young innovators to explore future transportation in Boston. To attract participants and help them explore the GoBoston questions as well as contribute more ideas, we decide to build an website visualizing what people from different Boston regions focus on about future transportation. Our audience are young entrepreneurs and inventors in Boston, and our goal is to get them to join us at the GoBoston 2030 Civil Engineering Hackathon where we will build the future together.

Users will start their exploration by seeing some personal stories from people live in different regions in Boston about their future demand in transportation. When entering the interface, users can see a map of Boston with photos and keywords in different regions representing people and their stories (Figure 1). By clicking a photo, users will be able to read more about the story and see a word cloud about what else of future transportation people in this region pay attention to (Figure 2). The word cloud is generated from the questions related to this region in GoBoston 2030 dataset. Users can also click a keyword in the word cloud to see questions containing the keyword or under a specific theme (if the keyword is a theme name).

By presenting photos and personal stories, we wish to draw users’ attention to what people really need through vivid stories. When users’ attention is drawn to one region, the word cloud can serve as a port to support future exploration about other ideas related to this region.

Food Insecurity Posters

Aina Martinez Zurita, Tricia Shi, and Zachary Collins

    The data says that there is a large section of our society that grapples with food security every day. Many people, due to a societal expectation to be able to provide for themselves and their family, feel too ashamed to reach out for help when they struggle to make ends meet.

    The Greater Boston Area has many shelters, food pantries, and churches that offer free meals, housing, training, and other resources for free. Our target audience are individuals who are struggling with food insecurity, specifically those who use public transportation near these shelters and resource centers. Many people often don’t know what is in their area or even that that it’s typical for someone in their situation to receive assistance. The goal of our posters is to demonstrate that there are locations in their local area – near and around their home and daily commute – that can help and foster a sense that reaching out to these places for help is normal.

    In the Food For Free data files, we noticed a common theme among many of the individuals in the Project Bread Status Report – prior to getting the help that lifted them off their feet, they were unaware of where to go and / or embarrassed by the need to get help. We wanted to advertise some of these shelters but in a way that utilized the personal narrative surrounding the status report interviewees in an effort to shift the viewer’s perception.

    We researched a few of the shelters near and around Boston (Rosie’s Place, Elizabeth Peabody House, and My Brother’s Table) and gathered information about the number of people they are able to serve and what public transportation stops are close by. Using the personal stories from the status report and quotes from individuals who were helped by these resource centers, we made posters that bring to the surface who these places aid. By providing a face, quotes, and information about their income and occupation, we build a very relatable image that can help people realize where they can get help and that people like them often do. At the bottom of our poster, we mention that these places serve many individuals, suggesting that going there is normal. We also provide helpful information about how to get there.

    When putting all of these components together, we have a poster that demonstrates that getting help with food insecurity is a normal act – something that others like them have done and are extremely thankful for. From far away, one can see the image of the person and the quote about the help they received. This puts the focus on someone who they can connect to. When observed up close, they can get more information about what might make the individual’s current situation similar to theirs. This can help remove any stigma about feeling alone and embarrassed. They can then get a more detailed description about the shelter or pantry including a quick blurb about its proximity and how to get there. The medium of a poster makes gathering all of this information very quick and covert, and is able to paint a clear image for how it can help them.

    If we were to take this sketch and expand it, we would interview many more individuals who go to the food shelters near and around Boston, allowing us to build many different profiles for many different people and locations. Pasting a few around an individual shelter or pantry could intercept many who could use help as they commute to work or other places around the city. This way, we would be able to hopefully change the misconceptions they have about food insecurity and the number of people it impacts.




What’s (Not) for Dinner?

Brandon Levy, Sean Soni, Mikayla Murphy, Meghan Kokoski

The data say that 700,000 children and adults in Massachusetts don’t have enough food to eat and 40 percent of the food produced in the US each year is wasted. MIT’s dining halls donate excess food to Food for Free, so when MIT students waste food at dining halls, that wasted food could have provided meals to food-insecure individuals via Food for Free’s Family Meals program. We want to tell this story because we think it will encourage MIT students to take smaller portions and reduce food waste, thereby helping both the environment and Food for Free.

Our audience is MIT students who eat in MIT’s dining halls (although our installation could be implemented at any dining hall that donates extra food to Food for Free).

Our goal is to encourage MIT students to waste less food, which not only helps the environment but also helps to feed the hungry by increasing the amount of food MIT’s dining halls can donate to Food for Free.


Our installation shows the number of food-insecure individuals Food for Free’s Family Meals program could feed with the food wasted in MIT dining halls, which donate excess food to Food for Free. Our project uses several sources of data, one of which currently exists and some that we would find or generate ourselves if we implemented this idea. We pulled positive quotes about Food for Free from a database of feedback provided by the organization’s recipients. If we went ahead with this project, we would ask Food for Free to provide data on approximately how much food (by weight) goes into each Family Meal they prepare, so as to accurately calculate how many people Food for Free could feed with the food wasted in MIT’s dining halls. We might also run a short experiment to calculate roughly how much of the food wasted in MIT dining halls could be used instead by Food for Free – specifically, cases where a student could have taken a smaller portion of food, since food refuse like apple cores and discrete food items like burgers and bread that have bites taken out of them would not be useable by Food for Free if they were saved.

MIT students often take excessively large portions given the chance and throw away the uneaten food. Our installation would confront students with the consequences of those actions by displaying the amount of wasted food that an MIT dining hall could have donated to Food for Free and how many people could have been fed with that food. The idea that someone might go hungry because of wasted food at an MIT dining hall provides an emotional punch to our call-to-action (reducing food waste) and, in our opinion, makes it more likely that our message will stick with students and influence their future behavior. The use of photos from Food for Free and quotes from organizations that receive rescued food from the organization also helps to humanize the food-insecure individuals who would benefit if MIT students reduced their food waste, adding additional emotional weight to our message. Finally, the practical tips we provide for reducing food waste will help students take the action we want them to.