Big-data Interactive Design

In 2017, I developed a big data interactive design “Memories of the Media,” where I collected and analyzed data from over 30 hot social news channels in China (i.e. the “life cycle” of news).

I liken the evolution of the news life cycle to the diffusion of ripples in the ocean. “Hot news” is comparable to the size of the diffusion of each ring in a ripple, and the length of the life cycle determines the duration of the ripples.

Through my design I demonstrated the short memory of public opinion and the reasons why various social problems occur repeatedly.


Dozens of shocking news happened during 2017 in China, like the Jiang Ge Tokyo Murder Case and Kindergarten Abuse Scandal Of RYB Education, all causes an uproar on social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat, but soon went down after a few days. People even stopped caring about the follow-ups, or whether the problem has been solved.

People are forgetful, especially in the current age when social media explode and continually draw people's attention. Hot issues emerge all the time, catching people’s concern like rocks thrown into water that ripples loudly but shortly. Ho wever, nobody will notice those rocks that have already sank to the bottom. Thus the idea came that it might be meaningful to studying the time length of news from entering people discussion to fading away.

Exploration of several visual styles ︎
News will be showed when tapping the center of ripple ︎

Final Version on Tencent News


 Data Collection 

The first attempt was to collect data from Weibo and calculate the time of a topic entering and leaving the top 10 of Weibo Hot Search List. However, Sina Weibo is greatly influenced by politics and business operation. Hence, data from Weibo is not able to show objectively the changing process of news popularity.

What’s more, Weibo is a single platform without diversity, which can not represent most of Chinese social media.

Hot news popularity daily changes ︎ 

Hot news popularity daily changes ︎ 

After screening over 30 hot news of the most influence from the big data public opinion system, I obtained the data about their daily changes of popularity and popularity in every province across the country.

Visual Design / Interaction Design

I draw an analogy between life cycle of news (the process of news being reported, arousing enthusiastic discussion and fading away ) and expansion of ripple. The news daily popularity data are related to the size of each circle of ripple, while the lasting time of ripple depends on the length of life cycle. When tapping the center of ripple, users could see the attention degree, news content and representative comments.

Initially I intended to create a “public opinion pool” in terms of visual design. Therefore, I applied relatively soft design. But during the cooperation with Tencent News, I adopted deeper color to show a certain sense of memory and remembrance, hoping to motivate people to remember and reflect on
some serious social events.

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