Empathy Through Data

Loneliness through the lens of data visualizations.

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About the project

'Empathy through Data' looks into an alternate way of representing sensitive issues such as loneliness using the medium of data visualizations and narrative storytelling. The project depicts the picture of loneliness faced by the people living in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic's first wave. My research looks into answering how 'How can visualizations foster empathy and help people relate to those suffering from loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic'?

Through this project, we can see how data visualizations can humanize the experience by using visual metaphors to curb Statistical numbing. The research amalgamates ‘affect theory’ with concepts of ‘arithmetic of emotions’ and ‘compassion fade’ to try and create a solution for issues related to the ways in which we respond to sensitive issues. The broader purpose of my project is to help other designers understand how to humanize the data representation and make it more effective in terms of the emotions that are being conveyed. The project helps them understand the approach that is needed to cater to similar sensitive issues.

This project is a part of the Digital Futures Grad Show 2021. It is created under the guidance of Isabel Meirelles and Adam Tindale, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design in Digital Futures at OCAD University.

The final outcome of the thesis project is linked to the button below. It is best viewed on a desktop or laptop.

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