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CMU Design Census


CMU Design Census

Web Design & Dev, Data visualization


Connecting CMU design students to alumni living in NYC

Length of the project: 2 months
My role: User experience design, Visual design, Protoyping, Web Development
Teammates: Jessica Headrick (UX Design & Web Dev), Faith Kaufman (Visual Design), Deborah Lee (Visual Design), Albert Yang (UX Design & Web Dev)
Keywords: Data visualization, Web design
Award: Adobe Design Semi-finalist

* Click here to view the live website *

Or go to https://cmu-design-census-2.github.io to interact with our project! Best optimized for Safari browser and 15'' screen. 


Project statement

CMU School of Design students are often anxious about their first job after graduation. They have a preconception that their first job has to be perfect. However, it is simply not necessary, and we hypothesized that most of School of Design alumni didn’t find a satisfying job until later in their careers. 

The value of design varies wildly depending on the company or organization, or even the industry.

Using data collected from alumni of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon , we visualize the various alignments and values of alumni compared to those of the companies and organizations that they have worked at.



After we analyzed the data we collected, unsurprisingly, we found that for alumni's first job has the lowest level of satisfaction 3.1, the 2nd job 3.3, the third or the current current job 3.6. In addition, the print&publishing industry has the lowest-3.34 and the consultancy / agency has the highest satisfaction score: 4.1.


Final Deliverable

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Represented by a city of cubes (“Cubeville”) , the data explores how alumni’s values of design align with their current and former workplaces. The alumni were asked to elaborate on how aligned, or misaligned their values were with the company in the role of the designer, the methods in the design process, and the final designed product. Depending on their responses, they elaborated on what specific aspects in their values diverged.

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We began with a google survey, which you can still view here! With our research, we wanted to learn about how CMU Design alumni’s jobs and industries (both past and present) align or clash with their philosophy or vision of design. Questions included: 

“How does your industry fit your philosophy of design?”
“How does this reflect on your education and the industry itself?”


While we were waiting our responses, we thought about what we wanted to communicate and things we predict to see in the data responses. We also considered that we want our main audience to be current CMU students. But other people like alumni may be an audience that is interested in the data but not who we are directly seeking out.


Eventually, we gathered our responses (roughly 90 of them!) and began exploring how to visualize this information. We went so far as to think about exploring them physically on cubes, where each face would display certain kinds of information. However, with the time we had, we decided to go with a more digital visualization, in which an interactive web platform would display 3D cubes that the user can explore.

To keep this a simple interaction, we decided to arrange industries by color and the alignment of design philosophy to show upfront, but kept the rest of the information on a hover. Therefore, the cubes would appear as plain colors with a number (1-5) on one side.

With all the deliverables that needed to be done (the 3D programming, the interaction design, the web design, visual design, and motion), we divided and conquered to push to the end.

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