<- Back to home


Visualizing Emotion

Fine. is an investigation of how emotion visualization could look like and work. In it, I explore how data visualization could be used to help us communicate and reflect on our emotions.

The research consists of three publications and an interactive web application.

  • The thesis, entitled Fine.
  • A book of visualizations from my year of personal recording, entitled Alright.
  • A speculative book of fictional short stories, entitled Could Be Worse.

Emotions are based on abstract phenomena, making them difficult to define and quantify.

Though our experiences of emotion are subjective, we have a deep need to understand and communicate their complexities and effects on our lives. The stimuli that cause our emotions and our mental and physical reactions to them make up our emotion data. Visualization of this data brings tangibility, reveals patterns, and provides a visual language for expression.

This thesis offers a system, in the form of a digital application, for the recording and visualization of emotion. The result is an experience designed to provide users a path for learning about and gaining emotion awareness. In addition, a set of guidelines are laid out to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to designing tools for emotion recording.

The goal of this work is to begin a conversation between the branches of social sciences, specifically emotion research and psychology, and visualization.

Whilst writing the thesis, I endeavoured to track my emotions daily for over a year. This recording culminated in the publication Alright.

This research points out that there is a need to for emotion tracking tools. How that need should be met, and constrained, is still dependent on one’s interpretation. Could Be Worse. is written as an indirect admonition to keeping perspective when we create and share tools which could potentially be misused. It is is my attempt to step back and criticize the ideas presented in Fine. These stories are projections of a world in which collecting emotion data is commonplace - or mandatory - and the disregard of the golden rules found in the conclusion of the thesis.

Track your emotion with the web application used at the exhibition here.

<- Back home

Fine. is an application designed for the recording and visualization of emotion experiences. Through consistent use of the application, users are give a path toward gaining emotion awareness and learning how their emotions affect their lives.

Fine. was built as the practical design solution to my research on emotion visualization.

By recording and interacting with their own data, a user becomes aware of the data‘s very existence in mass. In the case of emotion, a process which occurs largely invisibly, they can then see the connections between their behaviors, personality traits and their emotion experiences. The emotion continuum, or emotion database, shows visually the links between events separated by time and space. By exploring these links, the user is empowered to make their own interpretations of the data. Together with the support of visual representations, they have a language with which to express their emotions and experiences of them.

The current build of the web application can be found here.

<- Back to overview