Live Data Visualisation
The University of Hull recently completed a £28m ARUP designed library refurbishment project. We saw this as an opportunity to deliver something visually interesting for their lobby area which is open to the public and students and for smaller screens dotted throughout the library building. This space has daily footfall measuring in the thousands, from students to staff and even the public. We wanted to bring all these visitors closer to the action that was taking place throughout the rest of the building and to feel more connected with the Library.
Through some initial consultancy and workshop activity, we developed a few concepts for a site specific multi-screen installation offering a live visualisation of visitor activity. For the first phase of the project, as visitors use the library, their activity is visualised on a 9 x panel custom display. Each department is represented by a colour and a section of a tree, the tree branches grow in response to visits by each department. Bringing a sense of competition and social cohesion to otherwise solitary experiences.
For the interstitial visuals which act as a buffer between the information slides generated by the library and university marketing department, we went with a subtle series of animations which calm the information space and reinforce the brand identity through colours which match the textiles in the building.
Future growth built-in
A lot of data is generated daily in a library, not just in the way of looking at visitor activity. The plan is to enhance the visualisation engine further with varying landscape of abstract and representational visual content mostly concerned with showing growth and activity over periods of time in ways that are analogous the concept of a tree of knowledge growing over time.
With the collaboration of senior staff from the library, we wanted to understand the patterns of use and the types of data we could visualise. We spent good deal of time prototyping visuals and trying to gauge reactions in the library itself on a number of days before settling on the precise specification of the delivered visualisation product.