Project Ukko is a visualization interface for wind energy professionals, named after the Finnish god of the sky, weather and thunder, and developed as a part of RESILIENCE for the EUPORIAS project. Our objectives were to raise awareness of recent advances in seasonal to decadal (S2D) climate predictions, develop an effective solution to visualizing probabilistic information, and develop a tool addressing the needs of specific users. The science of S2D predictions is new, and the industry sector is still emerging. Hence users and tasks were not known or available at the outset, and so more work was needed at the front end of the design journey. This called for an iterative and exploratory process to characterise the domain and identify promising collaborations. We compensated for this by developing a design brief with clearly defined success criteria, and a handover to a visualization designer led to successful and smooth design work. The visualization, a global map with a data overlay, is designed to enable viewers to quickly spot global patterns and trends in future wind conditions, and then drill into detailed prediction breakdowns on a regional level. A visual device to represent probabilistic information, and visual summaries using multi-dimensional glyphs, present a new way to look at complex prediction data, and equip wind energy professionals to manage future weather events. The wide ranging nature of our engagement with the science and industry stakeholders in the identification and characterisation of users and tasks has led us to define and advocate what we term the art of the brief. We draw on the design study methodology (Sedlmair et al, 2012) to reflect on the design process and provide recommendations for the visualization design field.
Thanks to Albert Soret, Melanie Davis, Dominikus Baur, Stefanie Posavec, Laurent Dubois, Tom Rowlands and thewindpower.net. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under Grant Agreement no 308291.