Creating "Cards Against Hate"

Data Through Design is an annual alternative cartography exhibition held during New York City’s Open Data Week, an endeavor of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics. The objective of the exhibit is to enable curious makers such as technologist, artists, and designers to present new narrative perspectives and develop a deeper understanding of life in the city using data as a medium.

 

Cards Against Hate was one of 10 pieces selected for the 2019 Data through Design exhibit. My partner and I took a product thinking approach to ideate this project for selection and impact based on the theme and constraints of the show.

 

Check out the DXD19 website here. 

ROLE

Lead Designer

 

TEAM

Andrew L, Researcher & Strategist

 

DURATION

2 months

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DISCOVERY 

I was drawn to this call for artists because it was a rare open-ended opportunity to design for a good cause.

 

After combing through the city's public datasets, I couldn't help but notice the inaccessibility and density of this data. I thought it would be an interesting and rewarding challenging to design a piece to help participants form their own conclusions. 

Given that neither Andrew or I were data scientists or programmers, we knew that we also had to approach this challenge form a unique angle. We had a short timeline before the proposal deadline and only 2 months to execute if selected, so our project also had to be feasible within our constraints. 

With this in mind, we started off by organized our brainstorming into three core categories:

1. What dataset will we use?

2. What will be the medium?

3. What impact do we want to have on the audience?

CONCEPTUALIZATION

Locking in these three defining aspects made it much easier to formulate the mechanics of the concept. Among the other datasets in the city's catalog was squirrel census data and street tree maps. The lack of depth in this spreadsheet however, begged us for deeper analysis. Also inspired by Georgia Lupi's concept of "data humanism", we thought layering in real stories would provide more context and relatability to the subject matter. 

Hate Crimes by Complaints by Motivation 2017.xls

DESIGN

The design we landed on was an interactive set of cards that represented the top 8 identity-biases that reported hates crime in NYC. While each deck would contain 52 cards (number of cards in a standard card deck), each card representing a week. For weeks that represented a hate crime incident, we layered in real, reported crime stories for that group.

OUTCOME AND TAKEAWAYS

Our project was ultimately selected and we were able to print and present the cards just in time by opening night of the exhibit. Looking back, there were definitely better design decisions that could have improved usability, such as varying the fronts of the cards to better distinguish the cards when mixed up. However, the engagement and feedback received, even on twitter, deemed that the effort was impactful and worthwhile.

© 2021 Stephanie Luu