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On the 28th of May 2019 WHO officially included burnout as an occupational phenomenon, not just a medical condition. This meant that now, one could be diagnosed with burnout and seek treatment for it. While mental disorders are usually ‘taboo’ and avoided, burnout, on the other hand, is normalised to an extent where the chronic state of exhaustion is celebrated as a sign of success. It is important to understand that while stress is a normal emotional response, burnout is not.

 

The objective of my thesis project was to relay the required and important information about burnout in a medium and form that could be easily understood and absorbed by the group that is at the highest risk of being in a state of burnout.

 

'hw r u - really*' is a web experience that use the principles of infographics and data visualization to inform and empower the user with the right information and tools on the affects of burnout on the human body.

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Excerpts from my thesis document:
"I then had the opportunity to use this in an interactive activity held during the open studio at SACI. I invited students, professors and other guests to mark their stress on a human body diagram. The symbols created were offered in a variety of colours giving the viewer the decision of not only choosing the shape and colour of their choice but also the option of placing

it anywhere on and even near the body. The goal of this interactive activity was to observe:

1. The kind of symbol chosen by the viewer in order to signify their stress.

2. Where they chose to show this stress on the body

3. If there were any apparent differences in age groups or gender on the perception of burnout or chronic stress

The activity was received with great enthusiasm, not only were the charts full but multiple viewers were stumped at the questions ‘What does your stress look like? And where does it reside?’ While the visual results of the activity were expected, the use of the symbols were an interesting outcome. Many viewers marked their ‘different’ stresses with different symbols in different parts of their body.

This was a huge breakthrough in my visual research as I realised that there was a need to differentiate between the kind of stresses felt in the body, even though they may originate from the same source or the same cause. Multiple viewers expressed to me how the stress they feel in their mind felt more ‘foggy’ as compared to the stress felt in the shoulders that was more ‘stab like’."

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Excerpts from my thesis document:
"The second part of my visual research included understanding the visualization of the human body. Throughout history the human anatomy and its functioning has been a source of mystery and imagination. While historically autopsies were not permitted or common, a large part of anatomical studies and research came from artists with input from their medical colleagues. Much
like the world map over the years, the human body has a variety of explorations that were made over the centuries through multiple metaphors and lenses. One key example is the illustration of the working of the heart created by designer Joel Katz inspired by Harry Beck’s iconic London subway map created in 1932. While anatomically incorrect, the diagram reflects the accurate functioning of the heart, much like the subway map of London that manages to relay the lines and stops, while not depicting an accurate geographical form of London.55

I then explored multiple styles to symbolize the body to find the right style to communicate the issue at hand. A major block in this step was understanding the need for easy communication when it came to the various systems and workings of the human body. Even though we are in constant contact with our body and its functioning, a large population still cannot connect the actual organs with its name or functions. Hence, solving this communication was a priority when creating the infographics."

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Excerpts from my thesis document:
"While the website provides the viewer with ample information, I also wanted to give the user tools to create their own journey of discovery, reflection and healing. The aim was to create something that was simple to use and understand and allowed for self expression and finally led to self realization. Taking inspiration from Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s project ‘Dear Data’,56 I began exploring the idea of physical gathering data to represent emotions. Creating data charts with quantitative data is easy, but aspects like emotions are often harder to capture as the definition for anger, sadness and happiness are all subjective. Hence this tool would be a representation of the personal journey of the user.

A balance between work and life doesn’t always mean spending the same amount of time in both areas, but striking a balance that allows you to have enough mental space allows you to recharge for the next day of the work. Developing on this principle, I decided to create two sheets, one that focused on daily work and life balance and a second sheet that focused on a weekly schedule at work. Both of these aspects would help understand a certain aspect of one’s schedule or life. The final outcome is to allow the user to understand their habits, how it affects them, and finally how it affects them in the larger scheme of life."

Download the sheets:

Excerpts from my thesis document:
"Rather than a website, this aims to be a ‘web experience’. Through the use of interaction, animation and infographics it aims to create a journey from the unknown to the known; educating, informing and finally empowering the viewer with the information they need to know."