Nordstrom: Visualizing Big Data
How do you efficiently and effectively make large data sets more compact, easier to scan and manipulate and simpler to understand? In the class "Visualizing Big Data" we explored the use of qualitative analytic methods and principles of information design—visual coding and mapping—to addresses two challenges in the design process:

1. Visualization of large data: how to speed the discovery process involved in analysis;

2. Visualization of key insights: how to use large-scale, visual summaries that provide at-a-glance insight into the consumer’s behavior and mindset.

I started with a data set from a previous research project on the shopping habits of women: with and without children, with younger and older children and grandmothers. I chose to use the data to help my imaginary client, Nordstom's, to better understand these women and how they relate to their products.

Initial data visualization in Excel

Below is one of the data sets I visualized using Excel. In this set, I counted what the women were buying and if it was for others or themselves. Nordstrom's product offering leans towards higher-end, indulgent items that would generally be bought for yourself and not as an everyday need for your family. The green area indicates when Nordstrom-type items were purchased. The document is designed to allow you to see and understand the data visually, but also to be able to hover over individual points and read exactly what the research participant said.

After analyzing and other data from the study, I created a visualization that would allow Nordstrom to understand the big picture of the study as well as be able to dig down to individual insights and quotes. Click here to view a pdf of the final poster.