User Experience Researcher

Exploring Data and Storifying the Data

Case Study: Artist Nathalie Miebach

Miebach’s work resides at the crossroads of art and science, using climate data to create craft art sculptures and musical scores. She is interested in understanding and translating complex weather systems through her data-driven outputs that explore new visual and auditory languages.

Jordan Basin Buoy / 2008 / Reed, data, wood, plaster / 24”x24”x60”. Source:
Hurricane Noel VI / 2014 / Reed, rope, data / 24″x18″18″. Source:

The viewer is really challenged as to what visual language is part of science, versus art, versus music.

Nathalie Miebach

Due to AI’s utilisation of extensive datasets, I see her work informing my practice in the following manners:

  • Rendering abstract data tangible, captivating, and memorable.
  • Employing three-dimensional space by stretching two-dimensional information visualisation approaches and using basic materials to visualise the intricate relationships within vast datasets.

However, despite being physical, it lacks interactivity and due to the simple materials in use, it does not allow for dynamic data visualisation. The outcomes are great but require decoding, hence more cognitive power to understand the data presented.


Participants in the workshop responding to the prompt “How do you think of the data collected by YouTube” with Play-Doh.
Participant making their representation of their data.


Understand participants’ perspectives on social media algorithms, along with their mental models and metaphors associated with algorithms concerning their personal data.

Mixed-methods research.


4 students


30 minutes

Data Collection Methods

  • Audio live transcription
  • Observation notes
  • Produced artefacts


Thematic analysis to interpret the collected visuals and text.

Key Findings

YouTube was perceived as a human (attractive female) or a physical space (comfortable place such as).

User – YouTube relationship is likened to a barter system. (Data as currency)

Transaction drains the user, with no obvious benefits for them.

Human data can be selectively picked and chosen, and it is interconnected, yet partialised mixed with the group.

Overall, Dark feel. Themes: choice/ browsing, power

I haven’t thought of data as a story



The overall workshop went well. It yielded some data I was after but I could not get deeper and understand the impact on a personal level. 

Participants felt a bit confused about some of my prompts and found it very hard to come up with fairytale examples. I sensed that I lacked full control of the activity.

I should have:

  • provided more background on my research topic to prime the participants in the topic.
  • had only two/ three activities and dedicated more time to collect detailed responses.
  • asked more “why” and then just listened.



  • Achieve a broader understanding of how individuals perceive algorithms.
  • Identify the potential opportunities for exploring the enactment and embodiment of algorithms through fairytales.


15 responses/ 10 useful responses


Affinity Mapping

Key Findings

Average familiarity with how the YouTube algorithm works.

(based on a scale of 1 – 5, 1 being not at all familiar and 5 being very familiar)

Characteristics attributed to YouTube

  • Exploitive and dominant
  • “Massive space” and “a well-operating whole”

The response fairytales did not show any patterns in terms of values covered.


The questionnaire did not collect sufficient responses so that I could clearly define themes. It is partially my fault because I aimed it at the age group of 20-30 years old, narrowing potential participants. Also, I did not give it enough time to collect responses.

Body Storming: “Snow White” – Abandoned

Preparing the material for making the body storming exercise castle prop.
Castle structure outlined on the cardboard.
Castle drawn and needs filling in with colours.
Making the cottage hut prop with image reference.
Adding details to the cottage hut prop.
Castle cardboard prop.
Cottage cardboard prop.

See the workshop document (PDF 63KB) for the activity goals and structure.

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