INFO 3300 - Interaction Brainstorm Activity


Your group will brainstorm interactive data tools that *employees* of an e-commerce startup will use to explore sales data. Here are the rules:

Please follow this procedure:

Step 1 - 11:25AM to 11:33AM - [GROUP] Identify Key Goals
  1. As a group, read the instructions and Brief included below.
  2. Together, take a look at the Example use cases. Choose one existing example or invent a new use case that you want to support through your visualization tool.
  3. Rank those tasks in order of importance using any method you'd like (e.g. voting, by consensus)
  4. In any remaining time, check out some of the visualizations posted to Ed Discussion and your favorite existing e-commerce sites for inspiration.

Step 2 - 11:33AM to 11:43AM - [INDIVIDUAL] Two sketches
  1. Now, working individually, begin making two very rough visualization sketches that best satisfy those tasks. Keep them low fidelity. You can use any medium you like (e.g.pen and paper, tablets, UI prototyping software, presentation tools, a whiteboard).
  2. Refer back to the dataset and think about what you want to show.
  3. Keep polishing your ideas until your group reconvenes.

Step 3 - 11:43AM to 12:00PM - [GROUP] Final design
  1. As a group, go around and discuss each person's sketches. Keep it to 1 minute per sketch.
  2. Working together, create a consensus sketch.
  3. We will reconvene at the end to check out everyone's ideas.

Your brief:

Your group is an elite team of UX designers at an up-and-coming Internet commerce firm, Nile. Nile sells a variety of products globally through a hugely popular online platform. They also allow independent sellers to create their own "Nile Storefront" through which they can market their own items on the platform. The products sold are incredibly numerous, and the number of sales each year on the platform reach into the billions. Some independent sellers sell only a few thousand products each year, while others sell millions. One major challenge for Nile's continuing growth is its aging internal infrastructure. Staff depend on a dated internal dashboard that allows them to explore global sales data. They use this tool to identify upcoming sales trends, new markets, areas where they are falling short, and demographics for advertisements (among other tasks). Independent sellers also have access to a version of this dashboard that shows only their own store's sales. The tool is critical to Nile's success as a business.

As is the case with many rapidly growing technology companies, their infrastructure has not kept pace with their growth. The current dashboard, developed in 2003 and only updated in a minor way, uses hyperlinks and requires users to type their own queries in SQL in order to find data. Visualizations are rudimentary, and the JPEG-based map view features a few countries that no longer exist and clickable arrows for navigation. Your team has been tasked with a complete re-write of this dashboard. You are to create a new, highly interactive tool for exploring these data. While you will have a couple of years to complete a full tool, you must deliver a proposal outlining your visual and interactive elements as soon as possible.

Here are some example use cases to consider (but feel free to make up your own):

Nile Sales Data

** The "raw" data you can access are a table of individual sales made on Nile. Employees can access all of the data, while Storefront owners can only see their sales. Assume that they have somehow resolved any internationalization / language issues.

Name of item sold Descriptive title of item that was sold
Item categories Tags/categories describing item (e.g. "camera", "housewares", "60w lightbulb")
Sale timestamp Time that the item was purchased
Sale quantity Amount of item that was purchased
Purchase price Cost of item
Total purchase price Cost * quantity
Average product rating Review rating of product at time of purchase
Buyer's review If buyer reviewed, score and review
Location of sale Lat/lng coordinates of the buyer
Geo-info for sale City, State, Country for the buyer
Time it took to arrive Time in days between order and delivery
Anonymized buyer ID Identifier for the buyer
Buyer demographics Hyper-detailed demographics (e.g. gender identity, age, relationship status, region of birth, interests, possessions, bad habits)

** Your database team at Nile is very smart, and they are happy to put together some aggregated data to make your life easier. Here are a few examples:

Average sales over a week for a set of states/countries
Total monthly sales for specific products by demographics - Do all cat owners buy litter online?
Highest rated product bought by at least 10 people in Florida every March
Standard deviation in delivery time for a specific city during the last week
(Feel free to invent additional plausible pieces of data)

**You've also got access to an internal AI platform that tries to predict future trends. Here are a few examples of what it can provide:

Expected sales next week for a specific region
Whether sales in a region matched algorithmic expectations last month
The likelihood that a specific buyer demographic will buy a specific product
(Feel free to invent additional plausible data predictions)

Remember: Do not try to visualize all of these attributes.