Visualizing connections amongst the attendees of DesignUp

DesignUp is an annual Indian design conference with a line up of inspiring speakers and exciting workshops. In the 2018 edition, there was a scholarship program consisting of writing, sketch noting, photography and installation.

I was lucky to be selected as a part of this program under Rasagy’s mentorship.

We came up with ideas as to what could be achieved using data as a raw material. We wanted to try and make an installation for the conference …

… or collect data during the event and make something after.

Can we connect people?

Amongst all these ideas: we felt that visualizing connections between attendees of the conference based on their interests and aspirations would be fun and interesting.

Designing the visualization

Our concept revolved around using a network visualization. I started learning a bit of graph theory and exploring d3-force. I’m a novice when it comes to d3 and this was a good chance to learn more.

The crux was deciding which encoding method and force layout could be used and developed right in time for the event.

other directions the viz would have gone to

Understanding the force

d3-force is a rudimentary physics engine with forces acting on and controlling the particles. Tweaking these forces was a key component of the visualization.

How does it work?

The idea was to ask 3 quick questions to the attendee and immediately visualize their connections with other folks in the conference, who are interested in the same things as they are.

These connections are redrawn using d3’s enter-update-exit pattern:

Here’s what my connections looked like

Let’s have a quick walkthrough:

Nimble learnings

A few tiny observations that we made during the whole experiment.

This was my first time at DesignUp. There were amazing talks by inspiring people. Good food too 😉 It was so much fun interacting with enthusiastic people who were very curious and encouraging.

My gratitude to:

  • DesignUp team for giving me a chance to do this
  • Rasagy for mentoring and supporting throughout
  • Gurman for a lot of advice, feedback and ideas
  • Nitin for the constant critique. Do check out his installation: Piano man
  • Aromal and Reetika for all the photos and encouragement


I’m an Information designer with a keen interest to work on data-driven projects which provide compelling ideas while delivering delightful user experience.

About Us

DesignUp started with the idea of raising the design agenda within tech companies and tech-led businesses. To make tech, businesses, products and services thoughtful, human and humane, by Design.

DesignUp is volunteer-driven and community led. There are no full time salaried employees—we all have our day jobs. For us, DesignUp is a passion and unifying force.

Core Team

DesignUp’s core team includes Abhishu, Anindita, Baisam, Dharmesh, Jay, Lucky, Manu, Nikita, Nitesh, Narayan, Prabin, Saloni, Sima, Supriya & Tuhina.

Advisory Board

DesignUp Advisory board, constituted in 2018, has Katja Forbes, Vandana Abraham and V Shivakumar on the team.


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