Recently the podcast, What’s the Point by Five Thirty eight, aired an episode about data visualizations on post cards. In short, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec started the “Dear Data” project, a weekly visualization sent on a postcard. This inspired me to improve my visualization skills by creating some unique data graphics on a white board Lynsey hung in our mud room.
Here is the project: Each week I will collect data on a topic related to the Larson House. Data collection will be done by both Lynsey and me. Starting Sunday I will start designing a visualization with the goal of posting it by Wednesday. Here we go…
Last week, I timed how long it took Lynsey and me to get the kids to bed. Typically, each of us take a kiddo and we read books, snuggle, beg until they are both asleep. These data seem straight forward, but the week I collected the data it seemed as if we were bringing the kids to bed with us more often than not. I decided I wouldn’t let that stop my first Whiteboard Visualization project.
With these data, I decided to draw a Sankey Diagram. The chart shows the proportion of time (1 week) that each node (children…maybe we will start calling them nodes all the time) ended at one of the four end nodes (time spent). You can see that during this week we gave up on Gustave falling asleep in his bed six nights out of the week. There is probably some relationship with the fact that Gus napped six out of seven days that week…ahem, Lyns. Nola was a little more diverse. We gave up one night (Nola is convinced that she needs to stay up on nights that I teach…maybe I should stop reinforcing this behavior with milkshakes), two nights it took almost an hour, another two nights it took between fifteen and forty-five minutes, and finally two nights we were in and out in under fifteen minutes (or approx. 2 books).
This chart has already led to some data driven decision making in the Larson house. First, we have started working with Nola on her ability to put herself to sleep…alone…in her room…without one of us crammed into her twin bed with her…gasp. Second, we are really trying to stop Gus from napping. We didn’t need data for us to make either of these decisions. Well this was my first visualization, so hang in there. Hopefully they get better.
For next week we are tracking our overuse of Easter candy as a parenting tool. Here is our tracking method (whiteboards everywhere).