The Genome of My Week

Carnegie Mellon University /
Grad Studio I
Independent Project
5 weeks, 2012 Fall
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Project Summary

The goal of this project was to visualize my week. The main challenge for me was to transform the abstract data into a communicative representation. I went through several stages from collecting data, analyzing data, to visualization and revision.

Collecting Data

For visualizing my week, I started to collect all the data in my week. I wrote down the time of everything I did. Not only did I record the time I spent, but also I recorded the environmental factors, such as the places that I went and the temperature in the morning. Aside from those things, I took the photos of the environment, which included the sky outside my window when I woke up, the place that I first arrived in the morning, etc.

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Analyzing Data

After the week of collecting data, I categorized it into four domains: 1. The time, 2. The environment, 3. The relationship, 4. The material. I recored my time in detail to see how I arranged my time exactly within that typical week. For the places, I discovered that the spaces I went to most frequently were my apartment and design studio. For the relationships, I interacted the most with my classmates and my roomates. In addition, I used Facebook as a tool to interact with my friends in Taiwan, so I was curious about how much time I spent in intangible interaction. For the materials, I calculated the waste I used, what kind of food I ate and what I bought.


After I put all the data on a large piece of paper, I started to think about how to combine different categories and make them coherent, giving a clear picture of my typical week.

I was inspired by the human genome graph, marking the different function areas in different colors. It was just like my week, every moment was like a single gene, and in a certain time I was doing something, somewhere. All of them together were the genome of my week. Thus, I used the genome as my concept and sketched out ideas on paper.


After sketching and testing on large paper, I decided the format for visualizing my week. I created a main graph that showed my schedule: each cell was an hour, so the table contained 168 hours.


I printed out my poster in black/white and hung it on the wall in the hallway. My classmates wrote down their advice on post-it notes. It helped me to stand in the viewer’s shoes and clarify the vague areas in my poster.

I changed several things along the way: 1. The icon: I tried to simplify each icon by using geometric shapes. To achieve consistency, I also changed the background color of the icon index from a white background to different colors. 2. The moon: In order to emphasize the feeling of time passing, the moon shape slightly changed with the time. 3. The font: Because my poster was vertical and long, I chose a font with a more vertical feeling. 4.The indication of the time: I changed it from the numbers to pie charts to clocks, and adjusted the size of the clock. 5. The colors: I not only tried various colors to make the main graph look more harmonious, but also I adjusted the background color into light grey and the night color into darker blue in order to highlight the main graph.

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    I assigned different colors according to the events that I did in a certain period of time. Just like the genome graph, I also used color to identify the pattern of my week.

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    First draft evaluation

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    Gathering feedback

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    The change of icons, fonts and background colors

The evolution of the genome of my week poster

Final Results

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