Publications 

"Teaching the design of narrative visualization:
behavioral economics and financial literacy." Studies in Material Thinking.

Abstract: A 2012 course at Parsons The New School for Design immersed students in a design-based exploration and explication of nancial concepts and behaviors. Stu- dents collaborated with a class of community nancial counseling trainees to develop nancial-literacy materials for underserved populations. These narrative visualizations depict nancial information and behaviors, using a technique that draws upon research in nancial literacy, decision-making and behavioral economics to engage with the interconnectedness of behavioral and analytical decision processes. Members of the Visualizing Finance Lab at Parsons developed an assessment tool, the infoEmotion matrix, to analyze the student work by identifying the visual and content elements that present the most-prevalent aspects of nancial decision-making.

Key Words: Narrative visualization, nancial literacy, behavioral economics, heuristics, design education, collaboration, decision processes, infoEmotion matrix

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"Narrative Visualization to Describe and Assess Decision-Making."

Abstract: The Visualizing Finance Lab (VFL) at Parsons The New School for Design has developed a methodology for creating and assessing “Narrative Visualizations” that depict the complexities of decision-making. “Narrative Visualizations” are not data visualizations; rather, they are illustrations, animations, cartoons and other pictorial media that use cultural, emotional, and behavioral cues and metaphors to communicate concepts and processes. Visual metaphors tend to communicate directly to intuitive understanding by using cultural and embodied cues, and might therefore influence intuition-based financial decisions. In a design class at Parsons, students created storytelling animations about a couple’s financial decisions. The student work was guided and assessed using VFL’s infoEmotion Matrix, which has broad applicability for design students and practitioners in describing and understanding the culturally-inflected decision processes of clients and designers.

Keywords: Narrative Visualization; Visual Metaphor; Emotion, Culture and Decisions; Decision-making Process, Design Education 

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"Designing Financial Literacy: Research x Community." Learn x Design: The Third International Conference for Design Education Researchers.

Abstract: Financial literacy is of critical importance both globally and locally, yet existing financial literacy programs tend to neglect the behavioral factors that drive financial decision processes (Yoong, 2011). We assert that effective designs for financial literacy and other behaviorally-driven decisions must utilize both data- based and qualitative approaches, and that design students need training to achieve this balance.

The authors present here a framework for an undergraduate design course that draws on evidence-based research to identify the financial literacy needs of economically-vulnerable individuals in New York City, and encourages students to develop critical thinking about the methodologies and underlying assumptions of existing financial-literacy programs. The framework also helps students to incorporate multiple techniques of research, and draws on theories of financial behavior and visual communication; then it helps students expand their design skills as they create financial-literacy materials with a community partner.

The framework presented here is widely applicable beyond financial literacy, to any domain in which behavioral and cultural factors drive decision-making.

Keywords: narrative visualization, community engagement, financial literacy, decision-making 

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"Narrative visualization for co-design with a community
partner." Form Akademisk.

Abstract: Deficient financial literacy is an important international problem, and research suggests the potential effectiveness of narrative visualizations. This paper presents a case study: a collaboration between a class of design students and a community-based financial-counseling organization to develop financial-literacy comic strips for use with the organization’s low- income clients. We describe and examine the communication challenges between a community partner and an academic institution, detailing the several communication modes employed. These modes include questionnaire and surveys of the counselors; emails directly between students and counselors; and most successfully, a hands-on visualization workshop with counselors. The visualizations engaged counselors with generative (based) design practices, which resulted in superior communication with design students. Lessons from this experience may be broadly useful for any collaborative efforts among academic institutions, design students and community partners.

Keywords: co-design; narrative visualization; generative design; community partner; visual communication 

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"Designing Financial Literacy with the Other 90%."

Abstract: Financial literacy is widely recognized as being of vital importance in helping to stabilize economies at national and global levels, through strengthening individual and household financial resilience. However, financial education efforts have often emphasized financial concepts and information rather than the emotions, beliefs and cultural factors that drive financial decisions and behaviors. A notable feature of several financial literacy initiatives in the developing world is that the skills, attitudes and behaviors needed to make sound financial decisions are recognized as being (at least) as important as consumers’ base financial knowledge and information. Recent and ongoing studies of some of these programs have identified the use of metaphor, storytelling and “entertainment education” as effective strategies for financial literacy. However, these studies have not examined best practices in the creation and evaluation of the design of financial literacy materials. Since 2009 the Visualizing Finance Lab (VFL) at Parson The New School for Design has studied and assessed behaviorally- oriented financial visualizations, adopting the term “Narrative Visualization” to identify those that use visual metaphors and culturally-relevant storytelling to communicate financial concepts and behaviors. To help in the development and assessment of Narrative Visualizations, the VFL has developed the “InfoEmotion Matrix”, a tool for evaluating content and design elements across a rational-to-emotional spectrum. Here we apply the InfoEmotion Matrix to some examples of Narrative Visualizations used in financial education in several African countries, to identify the design and content elements that convey useful information and appropriately depict financial behaviors. In addition, the VFL asserts that co-designed Narrative Visualizations, guided by tools like the InfoEmotion Matrix, can provide a framework, enabling designers, policy-makers and economists to engage with targeted community groups as partners in the development process of financial education materials.

Keywords: narrative visualization, financial literacy, storytelling, visual metaphor, behavioral economics, co-design. 

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"Teaching the design of narrative visualization: Using metaphor for financial literacy and decision making."

Abstract: The authors provide a scholarly definition for metaphor-rich, story-driven ‘narrative visualization’. They argue that metaphors create a rich and emotionally resonant set of associations that frame the narrative and effectively support ‘System 1’ (or intuition -based) thinking and decision-making that Kahneman and others have identified as the primary drivers of financial behaviour. The authors then apply these observations to a case study in which they analyze student work on a financial literacy design project. They discuss best practices for teaching narrative visualization and argue

for its relevance in a contemporary design education - especially its capacity to represent and reflectively explore complex financial and other concepts.

Keywords: design education, narrative visualization, metaphor, visual metaphor, behavioural finance, financial literacy 

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"Narrative visualisation for co-design with a community partner." Form Akademisk.

Abstract: Deficient financial literacy is an important international problem, and research suggests the potential effectiveness of narrative visualisations. This paper presents a case study: a collaboration between a class of design students and a community-based financial counselling organization to develop financial literacy comic strips for use with the organization’s low- income clients. We describe and examine the communication challenges between a community partner and an academic institution, detailing the several communication modes employed. These modes include questionnaires and surveys of the counsellors; direct emails between students and counsellors; and, most successfully, a hands-on visualisation workshop with counsellors. The visualisations engaged counsellors with generative-based design practices, which resulted in superior communication with design students. Lessons from this experience may be broadly useful for any collaborative efforts among academic institutions, design students and community partners.

Keywords: co-design, narrative visualisation, generative design, community partner, visual communication 

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