Designing Personalised Films to Support Public Engagement with Open Data

Finding ways to support public engagement with data requires us to make use of accessible and engaging formats. In the Perspective Media projects, we explored how film could be used to to communicate complex data to non-expert audiences.

Brooke Leave Home is a prototype personalised film designed to engage a non-expert audience with data about the support young adults receive when leaving the care system in England. The film draws upon a range of video-based data storytelling techniques to present each viewer with a personalised perspective on the topic based on data from their own local area.

The story of the character Brooke story unfolds differently depending on how different data values (and their implications) complicate her ability to search for her first job.

We present the film’s design and evaluation in a paper published at CHI 2020. The paper is available to read on the ACM digital library.

It describes how the film’s storytelling techniques were developed to support viewers in understanding, and fostering empathic connections with, the data sources featured and the implications they have for care leavers. In particular, the use of data from the viewer’s local area seemed to have the most impact on the extent to which they engaged with topic and information presented.