Data visualization - Food Diary

Food diary is an interactive visualization of my eating patterns across 4 weeks. When I move to a new place, my diet changes dramatically. I love good food but it’s not always top priority. The relationship between my work hours and the amount (and type) of food I eat is very erratic. I wanted to figure out exactly how unhealthy my diet was. I was hoping that the acts of measuring and visualizing the pattern would motivate me to eat healthier. 


I also included benchmark diets as points of reference. But it serves a more critical role - Is the Atkins, Zone or Detox diet reasonable? Comparing the recommended diet to to my actual diet serves to critique both diets simultaneously.

Here's the browser-based prototype.

2015, 5 week long individual project 


Conceive and craft visuals that communicate information in ways that are useful, usable, and desirable. 


Initially I tried capturing images of what I ate along with how much it weighed and what time I ate. This method of data collection was too cumbersome and often I would forget to take a picture or I didn't have access to a weighing scale. I then moved to excel to track the time, what I ate and the food groups the meal comprised of. Looking at the color coding in  excel gave me some indication of what the patterns were.


After finalizing on the data points, I iterated designs for the overall visualization - what the primary scales would be, what the form of each component would be and how visual variables like color, size and position would convey information. 

The visual style of each component needed to convey information qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Rather than just a flat pie chart, the texture of food added depth and additional meaning to the pie chart.

I explored the idea of making a time based visualization of my eating patterns but realized that the form of a video didn't allow users to engage with the information at different levels. I could control when they received information and what sets of information were compared but the viewers were passive.




© 2019 by Shruti Aditya Chowdhury