By Ruichen Jiang, Rob Garruccio and Samantha Limbrick
A visualisation allows for the presentation of information or data in an aestheticallypleasing form which is increasingly understandable by viewers and which allows forrecognition of patterns or relationships within the data.
For our visualisation we scanned data collated by the Australian Bureau of Statisticsand decided to create a visualisation which illustrated data regarding the participationof children between the ages of 5 and 14 years in reference to a variety ofrecreational activities over a two week period during a school term in 2012. Our visualisation is a presentation of the percentages of both males and females whoparticipated in all recreational activities (skateboarding, rollerblading or scooter;bicycle riding; watching TV, DVDs or videos; other screen-based activities;recreational arts and crafts; reading for pleasure; and, homework or otherstudy) studied by the ABS for 20 hours or more during this two week period.
Research into children’s participation in avariety of recreational activities has beenconducted for several years with theoldest downloadable press release datingin 2000. Therefore, there is evidently aninterest in and emphasis upon children’sbehaviours in this regard. However, when looking at statistics andtables such as the one beside it canbecome overwhelming andmisunderstood by audiences.
Developing and publishing a visualisation, in comparison to publishing written commentary on the samedata, has the potential to allow for both greater coherency of statistical information (in a way which maynot be considered so overwhelming) and greater engagement with audiences due to its aesthetic appealand, due to this, generate greater interest in or discussion around a topic. Our own visualisation has the potential, additionally, to intervene with a number of publics including: theschooling system, family unit, commercial industry, advertising industry, etc. and the way in which eachincorporates, encourages, discourages, etc. participation in specified recreational activities. For example, the schooling system may want a greater emphasis on homework or study during a two weekperiod than that on TV, DVD, Videos and other screen based activities and may thus incorporate suchmeans into how they get students to complete schoolwork. Another example may be, the advertising industry recognising the potential to engage children with agespecific products through TV or the Internet, etc. and thus potentially increasing consumer interest in theseproducts. A final example may be, parents wanting there children to participate in recreational activities other than TV,DVD, Videos or other screen based activities and thus developing ways to encourage their children toparticipate in reading or bicycle riding, etc. Therefore, a visualisation such as ours could present information which is of concern to certainpublics or opportunity for others.