Face the Faces
Telling the story behind the numbers.

This project was made as an assignment for HKU, Utrecht.

About the project: As an Interaction Designer, data is a very valueable asset. But what happens when the data doesn´t even tell half the story? I started doing research into the number of suicide and suicide attempts per year in The Netherlands. The amount of succesfull undertakings and attempts shocked me. However, I noticed a trend; only the hard numbers were being catalogued. The story and the people behind those numbers were seemingly forgotten.

There's obviously multiple reasons why the story behind the numbers of suicides can not be told. Respect, privacy and sensitivity of the subject are just a few of said reasons. However, I wanted to design a visualisation that would attempt to tell the story behind the numbers without any disrespect for the victims.

Personal stories: In the visualisation you can listen to the relatives of those who have lost a loved one to suicide as well as read along on screen. As they tell the story, the timeline starts moving along as you're taken through their life. As the relative tells the story, pictures of other suicide victims will pop onto the screen in the corresponding year. These pictures will appear on top of the text on screen. As more and more pictures appear, the voice of the relatives will become muffled and harder to understand. Their story will get buried underneath the sheer amount of suicide victims.

Why? This is a subject that is personally very important to me. There's a stigma on the subject which makes talking about it a lot harder than it should be. I didn't want to make anything that'd give people crazy ideas or trigger them but instead to force them to think about the subject and perhaps open up a conversation about it. The number or suicides are increasing and I believe that we should never forget that each of those numbers have a life story.