For this week’s assignment we had to quantify a specific aspect of our lives, I decided to work with Anna Gudason by counting the amount of compliments that we received during the week, the reason why we did this is because we believe but a lot of time we don’t share what we are thinking, specifically in my case, if I see someone wearing a nice outfit I try to say something nice, however I don’t always do it, or if someone is beating him or herself up because something went wrong with an assignment, I try to give support however I don’t tend to compliment their good characteristics. By quantifying the compliments that we received we figured it will also be interesting to know how many we give during the week and be able to create a visual comparison.
A very important aspect was the collection of the data, I started by creating a spreadsheet in Google docs so that I would always have access both in my computer and in my phone, in order to be able to track more efficiently and hopefully don’t forget to log any of the compliments. The structure of the data collected was, I had a separate sheet for each day, and I had two different columns with “Compliments given” vs “Compliments received”.
I realized this is much more difficult that how it seems. To be honest at first I believed the amount of compliments was going to be big, therefore the data would be interesting to analyze over time, however as the days passed, I realized I was receiving neither giving a lot of compliments :( therefore I started to wait until the end of the day to make the note in the spreadsheet and that might have led to an inaccurate data recollection process.
Emotionally this was a very difficult week and I realize that that started to affect the data throw time, the amount of compliments gives started decreasing among the week and I believe one of the reasons was because I expected the compliments received to be a bigger number and also I wasn’t feeling like my compliments were “real”. I found myself forcing compliments such as “I like your shirt” which I didn’t like, therefore at the end of the week I stoped forcing the compliments and letting them be more organic.
This comes as a reinforcement of what I had mention in my previous blog, about how being aware that we are being tracked (as in the Garmin example) forced behaviors (for good or for bad). In this case, being aware that I was tracking the compliments made me want to give more, so that the chart will reflect how good I am with others, but in truth it is showing that I don’t give as many compliments as I should, and I don’t receive as many compliments as I wish.
At some point during the week, I started receiving compliments online, and I was hesitating if I should put them in the graph or not, at the end I decided to use only the compliments that really meant something, because they felt real and organic and they came from people that I know and trust. I decided not to visualize compliments that felt fake or that I felt were given expecting something in exchange (again I apologize if I’m getting to personal here :p ).
After reviewing the data I regret not taking notes on what the compliment was about, or who gave me the compliment. For example I would have liked to know how many came from my classmates in ITP (I remember that is at least 90% of them however since I din’t set a “comments” column in my spreadsheet I lost a lot of interesting information that would have been really good for visualizing).
I also would have liked to track what was the reason why I gave the compliment, if it was because of the person’s appearance or personality and if I felt like doing it or it was just a way of making someone feel better. I noticed that most of my compliments came after someone was feeling bad about themselves and I used as a mechanism to make them feel better. I have been trying to understand if this is something good or bad.
The visualization process started once I had collected and analyzed the data, I wanted to create a visual comparison between given vs received and make it easier for the user to go throw the days and compare in the same scale for all of the days. I also decided to use colors to divide and represent both categories and I decided to display the information in a concentric radial display.
The sketching process was important to test shapes, colors and different . markers to see if the contrast and the difference of the colors was enough to divide the two categories of information.
The final analysis of the data is interesting, I noticed a peak on compliments given during the first day of the data collection (Tuesday) probably because I was overly conscious about the assignment and I also wanted to know if people would “return” the compliment back by saying something nice about me (which obviously didn’t happen). The other peak that I noticed is in compliments received on Thursday, and I can easily associate this with TNO (surprise surprise).
As I mentioned before this was an emotionally challenging week and I felt very sad the entire week, on Thursday I knew it was going to be a particularly difficult day for me, therefore I decided to dress nice, I wore a sweater that I have never used before, I put some nice make up and my hair was behaving in a good way. I also spend the day in my office in the morning and then in the afternoon at school, I had class at night and then it was TNO. This is very obvious in my data since this peak of compliments received associate with a very social day in which I was trying to feel better.
I also noticed that by the end of the week I was very much done with this assignment and I stopped giving compliments, which may also be associated with the fact that after Thursday I wasn’t feeling my best. Also I spent my weekend at school but since there were not a lot of people I had less social interaction during the last days of the data collection.
In general this assignment made me more conscious about how I interact with others, the way that I try to make them feel better about themselves and the fact that compliments do matter for me and sometimes I am willing to put more effort in order to receive them and feel better about myself.