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Case Study – FAASTeam

The Scenario

Small airplane that was involved in a minor accident.

You are working for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Safety Team (FAASTeam). Your particular workgroup is preparing a presentation for the annual Pan American Safety Summit (PASS) that reports the findings of FAASTeam research documenting typical injuries in minor small plane crashes. Your supervisor has assigned you the specific task of reviewing and editing the presentation’s data visualizations. Your teammates are less experienced with presenting technical information, and you have a reputation for being a skilled designer.

Your supervisor, Margaret Farnsworth, sends you the graphics your teammates have developed in a memo that asks you to edit their work: “I want you to work with the graphics that Tiffany Marcus, Jacob Klochner, and Julia Yutani have developed for this year’s PASS conference.”

You ask Margaret what she is looking for in revisions to the graphics. “They’re good researchers,” she replies. “However, they don’t always choose the most appropriate kind of graphics. They also unnecessarily complicate their graphics with too much junk and fluff. Their graphics are difficult to read and to decipher. Please edit them for appropriateness and clarity.”

You find the following graphics attached to the memo:

Figure 1. Tiffany Marcus

Chart showing the distribution of the most common causes of small plane crashes.

Figure 2. Jacob Klochner

Chart showing how the use of restraint devices affect pilot’s risk of sustaining serious or fatal injuries in four body regions.

Figure 3. Julie Yutani

Graph showing the average number of moderate lower-extremity injuries occurring annually to pilots in minor small plane crashes when restraint devices are properly worn.

You send your colleagues a memo asking them what they are trying to convey in each graphic.

Tiffany Marcus replies, “In my graphic, I want to show the distribution of the most common causes of small plane crashes.”

Jacob Klochner replies, “I’m trying to show how the use of restraint devices affect pilots’ risk of sustaining serious or fatal injuries in four body regions. I want to show that arm injuries are slightly more likely when restraint devices are properly worn than without them, but that lower extremity injuries – the type that often lead to lifelong disabilities – are significantly lower.”

Julia Yutani replies, “I want to demonstrate the average number of moderate lower-extremity injuries occurring annually to pilots in minor small plane crashes when restraint devices are properly worn. I want to communicate the scope of the issue. I want people to know that an average total of 17,699 lower extremity injuries occur annually in small plane crashes involving mechanical error where the pilot is properly wearing their restraint device.”

You respond to Julia asking, “What type of injuries are ‘tib.plat’ and ‘tib.shaft?”

Julia replies, “They’re both types of injuries to the tibia, the lower leg.”

You thank your colleagues and tell them that you will have their graphics reviewed, edited, and ready for the presentation by the end of the week.


Part 1

Compose a short memo (150 words) that clearly and concisely articulates what you believe are the principle rhetorical concerns of the data visualizations from the Case Study – FAASTeam. You should offer an ethical critique for at least one data visualization.


Part 2

For this assignment you will redesign the data visualizations presented in Case Study – FAASTeam.  Using the same data provided by the visuals (you will not have access to the original spreadsheets that support the visuals, but can view the data as textPreview the document), you will create alternative visualizations that exemplify the best design and ethics practices outlined in Module 4’s readings.

You can use any suitable program to create your redesigns. Some examples of software include:

  • Adobe Illustrator®
  • Easelly (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  • InfoGram (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  • Microsoft Excel™
  • Online Chart Tool (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  • Piktochart (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
  • Visme® (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Additionally, you are required to submit a Reflection Memo that succinctly outlines the changes you made, and the rhetorical and ethical choices that support those changes. Your Reflection Memo should utilize proper memo formatting and not exceed 250 words.

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