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3&4: Critique by Design

3&4: Critique by Design

3&4: Critique by Design

Winner - Philips Service Design Challenge 2023

Final Dataviz - Part II

Aman Sinha, Telling Stories with Data

October 4, 2023

Wireframes and Storyboards

Shorthand for Storyboarding

I worked on developing wireframes, and storyboards, and conducting user research to refine my storytelling concept.

The artifacts for this stage were created using Figma, Shorthand, Tableau, and Flourish. 

User Research and Interviews

Feedback Session One: The initial Shorthand storyboard was tested with three participants - M(32), M(22), F(24)

Purpose of the study


To gather insights for an article on social media usage trends and their long and short-term effects on young adults. The study aims to understand their personal experiences and perspectives.

Target Audience and Participant Demographics


Through my story, I am hoping to reach young adults, primarily high school and college students.

The nature of my story is based on self-reflection and making better life choices, therefore this segment of the population seems appropriate since they are heavily involved in social media consumption and have most of their lives ahead of themselves.

For the purpose of this user research, I picked three participants belonging to the same target audience. The participants were chosen on the basis of different social media consumption rates, age, gender, and cultural background. 

Participant One
Student, Asian



Participant Two
Student, Asian



Participant Three
Student, American



Research Protocol


The User Research was divided into two sections - Sectional review and overall storyboarding. Following are the Interview Scripts I used for conducting the feedback session on my storyboard and visuals.

Interview Script: Sectional Review


After walking the research participants through the Shorthand storyboard, ask them for the sectional review.


Section 1: You and Your Screens
Ask participants self-reflection questions on their daily, monthly, and yearly social media usage.

Ask for specifics like the average time spent and their most frequent activities.
Questions to be answered -
How would you describe your daily social media usage?
What about your monthly engagement?
Do you ever consider the impact of your yearly consumption?

Section 2: Personal Usage Trends
Objective - Based on average social media consumption on a daily to lifetime basis, ask participants if this information surprises them and if it changes their perspective on their own usage.
Questions to be answered -
How does your personal usage compare to these averages?
Does this data affect how you view your social media habits?

Section 3: Global Trends
Objective - Based on information on the global distribution of social media users, inquire if participants find this information eye-opening or if it affects their percepti
on of social media's reach.
Questions to be answered -

Did you expect such a large global presence of social media users?
How do you think this affects the way information and culture spread?

Section 4: Time Spent Over Lifetime
Objective - Based on data visualizations showing how people spend their time over a lifetime, ask participants if this makes them reconsider how they allocate their time.
Questions to be answered -
What activities would you like to prioritize more in your life based on this visualization?
How can you balance screen time and real-world experiences?

Section 5: Choices
End the study by asking open-ended questions, encouraging participants to reflect on the information presented and its impact on their social media usage.

Questions to be answered -

What do you think of the questions asked? What could be some other questions that could be asked?

Interview Script: Open-ended Questions (Overall)


After walking the research participants through the Shorthand storyboard, and conducting the sectional review, proceed to the open-ended questions encompassing overall features.


1. What did you think about the title of the story? Any recommendations?
2. What do you think of the storyboarding? Did it keep you hooked? Any area that felt flat or boring in terms of content?
3. What do you think of the mood board? Color usage? Graphic style?
4. If you were to ask questions at the end - what would those be like? 
5. What do you think of how sections are named?
6. Any other comments?

Interview Findings, Observations, and Comments

Listing selected insightful feedback and quotes from the user interviews which would help refine the story further in Part III.

Participant One
Student, Asian



  • The Title could include 'screen time' instead of 'phone screen'. Can use images for the title, and can get rid of 'life and choices' - life and choice picture maybe.

  • "The lifetime usage data visualization is both impactful and not at the same time - when you give it a second or two and understand the meaning, it's really impactful, but by just looking at it, it's not."

  • The questions are complex to begin with - the third question should be framed the other way around since the 'likes and shares' are being measured in terms of years here.

  • Reduce the overall size of visualizations - eyes are being forced to look at corners.

  • For global trends, just show trends instead of a world map showing social media content consumption levels.

  • The naming of sections could be tweaked - The second section could be 'you and your screen'. The first could just be an 'introduction'.

Participant Two
Student, Asian



  • "The title seems appropriate after I read the story - was not much clear at a first glance without any context setup."

  • "Good design inspires people, and the overall visual design of the story inspired me."

  • "If the idea behind the first two sections was to scare people with dark backgrounds and red accents, then you did a good job - I was scared."

  • For the last section, consider asking questions based on memories - might frame questions like, think of memories you made on social media vs. friends in the past year - which ones do you value more?

  • Transition sequencing for section two graphics is a bit quick. Try differentiating between the two sets of visualizations.

  • Starter questions should be very simple and tie to what you are answering in the later sections.

Participant Three
Student, American



  • "For a heavy social media user like myself, it's crucial to find a good flow in content, and your story flows well across different sections"

  • The large callouts for the graphics really convey the meaning well - even if I don't want to read the visualization, the large numbers create a huge impact.

  • For the final section where you are required to introduce a call to action, don't be suggestive or prescriptive, nobody likes it - just keep it open-ended with some self-reflective questions for readers to think about.

Research Insights and Identified Changes for Part III

Following are the key takeaways from the user research informing changes that are required to be made for part III. Summarized the insights into three categories to work on.



Revise the title to be better comprehendible and easy to read. Straight to point in using easy words.

Section Naming

Simplify section names. For example, the first section could be "Introduction," and the second could be "You and Your Screen."

Starter Questions

Simplify starter questions to make them more accessible and directly related to the subsequent sections.

Transition Sequencing:

Adjust the transition sequencing for graphics in the second section to make them more distinct and understandable.

Call to Action

In the final section, frame the call to action as open-ended self-reflective questions rather than being suggestive or prescriptive.

Visual Design

Title Image

Consider using images for the title, and remove "life and choices" to maintain clarity.

Size of Visualizations

Reduce the overall size of visualizations to improve readability and focus.

Global Trends

Instead of a world map, show trends in a more straightforward manner in the global trends section.

Use of Color

Ensure that the use of color in the mood board and other elements aligns with the story's tone and message.

Large Callouts

Continue to use large callouts for graphics to emphasize key points effectively. 

Data Visualizations

Lifetime Usage Visualization

Consider adding contextual elements or annotations to make the lifetime usage data visualization more immediately impactful.


Global Trends Visualization

 Simplify the global trends visualization to convey information more effectively.


Differentiate Transitions

Differentiate the transition between the two sets of visualizations in the second section for improved comprehension.

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