Looking Outwards 7: Information Visualization

“The Rhythm of Food” showing the seasonality of Apricot

The project that I find incredibly intriguing is “The Rhythm of Food” created by teams at the Good News Lab and Truth & Beauty. The goal of the project is to investigate the seasonal patterns in food searches. Using data from 12 years of weekly Google Trends, the creators developed a radial “year clock” chart with various segments indicating the search interests of hundred of dishes and ingredients. The results are featured on a website that highlights the ongoing trends in the current month. The website also allows people to dig into the data themselves and explore the seasonality of various food. The project was built using ES2015, webpack, react, Material UI, and d3 v4. I really enjoy this project because it uses something that we need every day, food, to reveal all sorts of cultural and social phenomena. For instance, the clock shows that searches for “gefilte fish” peak around mid-March because it’s a traditional appetizer for Passover. It’s even more interesting because it explores how the seasonality of food varies across the world. Another aspect that I admire about “The Rhythm of Food” is the visual design. Moritz Stefaner mentioned that he wanted to find “unique, intriguing, expressive and elegant visual devices to bring out the most interesting aspects of the data.” This was accomplished very successfully through the intricate designs of the clock and the cohesive color scheme.

Animation showing how the clock works

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