The above is a poster I made in my Design Communication course for local Evanston charity, Evanston Cradle to Career [Evanston C2C].
This poster was made for Evanston C2C’s summer reading campaign. Students that don’t read over summer often lose learnings from the previous school year and can fall up to 3 grades behind by 5th grade.
My summers as a kid were spent running around the Los Altos Library – and that library still has a special place in my heart. Hopefully, Evanston C2C can help local students make a similar bond with the Evanston library.
When I was younger I really wanted to be 6 feet tall, because to 7 year old me that I meant I’d make the NBA. Today I’m 25 years old, 5’9, and not in the NBA.
I still enjoy basketball quite a bit, particularly the quantification of the game. Sometimes I write about those things, and the following are those sometimes.
Expected Value in the NBA Draft
A piece discussing how players have performed over their NBA careers based on their draft slot. I look at things like peak performance, where big drop-offs in quality go, and how the NBA lottery affects these odds.
Age and upside in the NBA Draft
A sort of follow up to the last piece. The age of potential NBA draftees is a crucial variable when discussing draft projections. Here I look at how age drafted affects when and how high each player’s peak is.
Age and upside in the NBA Draft
Leading up to the 2016 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors were on a historic pace. Usually, teams that are that far ahead of the pack rest players, however, the Warriors were not. This led to a debate regarding whether they would be fatigued come playoff time. Here I look at how their minutes played compare historically.
I really like puzzles. Specifically The Riddler series at FiveThirtyEight. The puzzles give me a good excuse to:
- to try new things from a technical perspective
- exercise the more logical part of my brain – often a welcome change after hours of UI design
- tell stories!
The Riddler, as per Five ThirtyEight description is:
Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic, and probability. There are two types: Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-size and Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement.
Will You (Yes, You) Decide The Election?
You are the only sane voter in a state with two candidates running for Senate. There are N other people in the state, and each of them votes completely randomly! Those voters all act independently and have a 50-50 chance of voting for either candidate. What are the odds that your vote changes the outcome of the election toward your preferred candidate?
More importantly, how do these odds scale with the number of people in the state? For example, if twice as many people lived in the state, how much would your chances of swinging the election change?
Alligators, Sharks, Bridges and Friends
Four people have to cross an old, rickety bridge over deep, cold water infested with sharks, alligators, crocodiles and shrieking eels. The bridge is so old that it can hold no more than two people at any given time. It’s the middle of the night, so on every trip across the bridge, the person crossing needs to use the group’s only flashlight to cross safely. The four people who need to cross all walk at different speeds. One of them takes one minute to cross, one takes two minutes, one takes five minutes and one takes 10 minutes. If two people cross together, they need to stay together to share the flashlight, so they cross at the speed of the slower person. For example, the one-minute person can cross with the 10-minute person, and that trip would take 10 minutes.
How Many Bananas Does It Take To Lead A Camel To Market?
You have a camel and 3,000 bananas. (Because of course you do.) You would like to sell your bananas at the bazaar 1,000 miles away. Your loyal camel can carry at most 1,000 bananas at a time. However, it has an insatiable appetite and quite the nose for bananas — if you have bananas with you, it will demand one banana per mile traveled. In the absence of bananas on his back, it will happily walk as far as needed to get more bananas, loyal beast that it is. What should you do to get the largest number of bananas to the bazaar? What is that number?
Can You Solve The Puzzle Of The Picky Eater?
Every morning, before heading to work, you make a sandwich for lunch using perfectly square bread. But you hate the crust. You hate the crust so much that you’ll only eat the portion of the sandwich that is closer to its center than to its edges so that you don’t run the risk of accidentally biting down on that charred, stiff perimeter. How much of the sandwich will you eat?
Extra credit: What if the bread were another shape — triangular, hexagonal, octagonal, etc.? What’s the most efficient bread shape for a crust-hater like you?
Can You Solve The Puzzle Of The Pirate Booty?
Ten Perfectly Rational Pirate Logicians (PRPLs) find 10 (indivisible) gold pieces and wish to distribute the booty among themselves.
The pirates each have a unique rank, from the captain on down. The captain puts forth the first plan to divide up the gold, whereupon the pirates (including the captain) vote. If at least half the pirates vote for the plan, it is enacted, and the gold is distributed accordingly. If the plan gets fewer than half the votes, however, the captain is killed, the second-in-command is promoted, and the process starts over. (They’re mutinous, these PRPLs.)
Pirates always vote by the following rules, with the earliest rule taking precedence in a conflict:
- Self-preservation: A pirate values his life above all else.
- Greed: A pirate seeks as much gold as possible.
- Bloodthirst: Failing a threat to his life or bounty, a pirate always votes to kill.
Under this system, how do the PRPLs divide up their gold?
Extra credit: Solve the generalized problem where there are P pirates and G gold pieces.
Can You Slay The Puzzle Of The Monsters’ Gems?
A video game requires you to slay monsters to collect gems. Every time you slay a monster, it drops one of three types of gems: a common gem, an uncommon gem or a rare gem. The probabilities of these gems being dropped are in the ratio of 3:2:1 — three common gems for every two uncommon gems for every one rare gem, on average. If you slay monsters until you have at least one of each of the three types of gems, how many of the most common gems will you end up with, on average?
Can You Solve This Elevator Button Puzzle?
In a building’s lobby, some number (N) of people get on an elevator that goes to some number (M) of floors. There may be more people than floors, or more floors than people. Each person is equally likely to choose any floor, independently of one another. When a floor button is pushed, it will light up.
What is the expected number of lit buttons when the elevator begins its ascent?
Perplexing Puzzle of the Proud Partygoers
It’s Friday and that means it’s party time! A group of N people are in attendance at your shindig, some of whom are friends with each other. (Let’s assume friendship is symmetric — if person A is friends with person B, then B is friends with A.) Suppose that everyone has at least one friend at the party, and that a person is “proud” if her number of friends is strictly larger than the average number of friends that her own friends have. (A competitive lot, your guests.) Importantly, more than one person can be proud. How large can the share of proud people at the party be?
Our team of interns was tasked with building a data visualization platform (now called STATS Infographics) that allowed STATS to better leverage their rich data into products for media clients in an automated way.
This initially entailed secondary research of how others in the sports analytics industry were leveraging data visualizations. Through that research, we found visualizations fell on a spectrum of accessibility and the potential length of engagement. STATS’s next-gen data had the potential for engagement but was often glossed over by the casual fans. This helped identify a clear design direction for the platform – providing STATS’s next-gen data in easy to digest infographics with a short engagement-time.
user testing & insights
We made various infographic mock-ups in Sketch that was presented to users. The immediate tension we found was that a data visualization by itself was difficult for people to understand in the context of sports – individuals that deal with complex data on a daily basis had difficulty in applying that same rigor to simpler charts shown in the context of sports.
Synthesizing that research helped sharpen our design direction by identifying three key components that would ease the barrier to engagement.
Scaffolding the information with a narrative was particularly crucial in typing the entire visualization together, and it was important that narrative was delivered in a sports-appropriate language. To understand the conversational structural of sports talk we conducted intercept interviews where we’d simply talk to people about their favorite teams. By understanding the conversational UI of sports narratives, we were able to break them down into their component forms.
Having finalized a design direction, I developed a platform via Python that took basic user input and queried the appropriate data, c (WordSmith Areated a visualization, and wrapped into an appropriate aesthetic. It leveraged an NLP toolI) to turn the queried data into the sports narrative structure researched earlier.
I went back to user testing to understand the conversational structural of sports water cooler talk. By understanding the conversational UI of sports narratives, I was able to break them down into their component forms that allowed me to leverage an NLP tool and attach the final piece to the infographic platform.
Which league would you like to see: English Premier League
Which matchweek: 25
Which Brand: Nike
The final tool was able to take simple text input as shown above and turn it into 50+ topical sports infographics in a matter of minutes.
At the end of the internship, our team pitched the alpha prototype we built to STATS C-Suite.
The product has since taken on the title STATS Infographics and has moved into development with a slated release date of mid-2017.
I recently visited the Takashi Murakami exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and was inspired to do a deeper diver into Kanye as an artist. The data was pulled via Sort Your Music. The individual charts were created through R’s ggplot2 library, and the entire graphic was laid out in Sketch.
Harley-Davidson was seeking new business opportunities to engage millennials with the Harley-Davidson brand. Our team, through Northwestern’s Design Strategy course, was asked to identify and design those verticals using a human-centered design approach.
We initially interviewed individuals in Harley’s target demographic both internationally and domestically. Those interviewed consisted of motorcycle riders and non-riders. This allowed us to understand what type of digital experiences millennials were interested in, how they perceived Harley’s brand, and most importantly their interpretation of Harley Davidson’s brand values.
Our research found that while millennials were in tune with Harley’s brand values, they did not associate themselves with Harley’s interpretation of their own values. For example, millennials found value in a sense of Brotherhood, a core Harley Davidson value, but their interpretation of brotherhood differed greatly from Harley.
Consequently, we identified analogous companies that did fit the millennial framework of Harley’s values. Another key insight was the high barrier to engagement with the Harley-Davidson brand. The only way to engage the brand was to own a motorcycle.
However, millennials aren’t ready to dive in head first into an unfamiliar brand, particularly one with the stigma of Harley. The brands that appealed to millennials the most were the ones that allowed them to initially engage with very low commitment, expand upon that engagement, and then finally become a brand ambassador through a stepwise process.
By benchmarking against analogous companies, we realized that Harley would need a 3 part roll-out plan to maintain their own brand authenticity while seeming credible to the target demographic.
We proposed a 5-year rollout plan to Harley’s corporate strategy team consisting of short-term social media outreach and long-term digital experiences with the end-goal of a new Harley Experiences business vertical.