This was a project for my information design class. The assignment was to make an infographic that provides some insight into our lives. It was the first project, and a cool introduction to the other students in the class.
I chose to make the project about my text message history. I got an iPhone 3G in the summer of 2008, and as a result I have every message I've ever sent or received since then. I downloaded a file management program that would let me inspect the data on my iPhone, and I copied over the 52,000 messages I'd sent/received over the past four years.
To make the big graph, I first eliminated the contacts with a negligible amount of messages to clean up the data. Then I sorted them into three groups - family, high school friends, and college friends. I gave each a range of colors; yellow, blue and purple, respectively. Each contact is a different shade of its group color. Below is an early version of the main graph on the page.
In making the final graph, I normalized the graph so that on each day, it showed the percentage of that day's messages associated with a particular contact, rather than absolute volume. I also increased the number of contacts to add some more richness to the data, distorted the graph a little, changed the colors, and removed the labels on the axes (a sin, I know).
I thought it was pretty cool, aesthetically. Without the distractions of knowing exactly what the data refers to, you can see some cool trends. Contacts phasing in and out as friendships changed. A big wall of purple when I got to college. The prevalence of one particular shade of purple representing my girlfriend.
For the final sheet (printed for use as a handout in a powerpoint presentation of the same data), I selected one contact from each group and highlighted their data. These were my best friend, my dad, and my girlfriend. I ran the content of those messages through a word frequency counter to pull out the most used words, which turned out better than I expected. I also threw in some other fun facts. Here is the final sheet: