Temporal

Your life as dots.

Role: Designer

Date: 2017

Duration: 1 Months

Overview

I have a hard time wrapping my head around how long a human life really is and what we actually do with all that time. I started this project when I was 21, which meant that based on the national average, I was almost one third into my life. So to reflect on my own mortality and on how I'm using my time, I wanted to design an experience that visualizes the average human lifespan.


Problem

In our modern society we rarely take the time to pause and reflect on how we spend our time; to really think about how that time contributes to our goals and purpose, and how much time we spend worrying versus doing something we love, or how much time we spend complaining versus how much time we spend translating thoughts into actions.


Goal

I want people to understand how relatively short our lives are, shift their perception of time, and reflect on self purpose.

Mood

I wanted the design to be stark but elegant, in order to have the message be straightforward, and to reflect the somber idea of life and death.

Temporal Moodboard

Solution

I had to figure out how to break down a lifespan into something anyone could understand. Originally, I experimented with a life represented by a grid of dots. Each dot would represent a day of a life. I would need to display 32,850 dots which would be too overwhelming for the user. Instead, I explored having one dot represent one week. I explored representing weeks and months. Weeks are more palpable than months so I settled on weeks.

Temporal Comp 1

Setting up the core conceptual model. Each dot equals a week.

Temporal Comp 2

Expanding on that concept if there is a line of 52 dots this represents a year of your life.

Temporal Comp 3

After the beginning sequence has completed the user is presented with the lifespan grid. Each column is a year.

Temporal Comp 4

To understand how much time the user has spent they need to enter in their date of birth.

Temporal Comp 5

The time they have spent is represented as filled in dots.

Temporal Comp 6

The user is then free to select different modes. The Phases mode breaks up the grid into the average phases of one’s life.

Temporal Comp 7

The Milestones mode displays when major events occur in one’s life. The Life Expectancy mode displays the average age of death for men and women.

Temporal Comp 8

At the end of the experience the user is ask about their next week with a new perspective on time.

Conclusion

This project challenged me to organize information into a visual experience so it could be more easily understood. I learned how to consider user expectations when entering and exiting an experience. Understanding the environment that the experience will live in has a big impact on the reception of the experience.

What would you do with one more week?

Sources

The Time You Have (In JellyBeans) by Zefrank

Your Life in Weeks by Tim Urban

Bureau of Labor Statistics