Dear Data 2019 – Week 4, Mirrors

Week 4 of the data postcard project Sarah Bartlett and I are working on this year is here. We still have yet to reach consistent timing for postcard arrival. Sarah usually receives mine 2 days or more before I receive hers, but this week we were only one day apart.

Week 4’s topic was all about mirrors and reflections of ourselves. I was intrigued by this one, I had no sense as to how often I look at myself properly in a mirror. Also, I decorate my house with a lot of mirrors (which you’ll see) – not because I am vain, but because they are great at reflecting natural light and making spaces appear larger.

I ended up re-purposing my IFTTT buttons for this week, but found the data collection process much less labor intensive. In the original collections from Giorgia and Stefanie, they had both captured accidental glances, however I chose not to go down this path since I would likely spend way too much mental energy determining if it was accidental or on purpose (or turned to having a purpose).

Dear Data 2019 – Ann’s week 4, mirrors
Dear Data 2019 – Ann’s week 4, mirrors (legend)

For the final visualization, I also decided NOT to use time as a dimension. Time has shown up in several of our previous postcards, so it was time to do something different. Instead I chose to represent the 5 different types of mirrors/reflective surfaces that I am around. I also captured some meta data related to the mirrors themselves, with each sketch being a rough estimate of the shape and proportion of each mirror.

As with previous weeks, I chose to collect from Monday through Friday – and there’s some good insight with that knowledge. Looking at my bathroom mirror, there are 16 glances, 10 of which are me brushing my teeth. After seeing the results, I think what surprised me most was the kitchen mirror. My kitchen is in the center of a very open floor plan, but I didn’t realize how often I used it to check my appearance. In converse, the green mirror (my bedroom) is where I apply makeup or do my hair.

I’m not impressed with my postcard this week, while I think it is an effective unit chart, I’m struck by the imprecision of the dimensions and some of the sloppy sketching. And the hashing of the corners to denote whether it was at home or not didn’t add much to the overall look.

And here’s Sarah’s week 4 postcard:

Dear Data 2019 – Sarah’s week 4, mirrors
Dear Data 2019 – Sarah’s week 4, mirrors (legend)

I really like Sarah’s this week. She managed to pull off a lot of depth by using different textures and writing instruments (there’s pencil vs. marker). If my assumptions are correct, then she and I start our mirror glancing the same way – in the bathroom. I also appreciate that she spent more time being specific about what was happening when she was looking at the mirror, and conscious of using mirrors for makeup.

Mailed Sunday night from my favorite blue box!

And that’s it for week 4 with mirrors. Don’t forget to check out Sarah’s blog post and get her take on the week.

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