CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
Spring 2017: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:15pm, E&CS 2120

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Assignment Guidelines

CS725 @ GitLab

Paper Presentations

Project - updated


Tableau's data visualization software is provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.

Semester Project - UPDATED

Demo Video and Paper Due: Mon, May 1, 2017 before 8:30am


The idea of the project is to take the knowledge and background that you are learning this semester about Information Visualization and put it to good use in a new, creative effort.

A real key to the project, however, is to select a data set that people will find interesting and intriguing. Even better would be to select a data set with a clearly identified set of "users" or "analysts" who care deeply about that data. Select a topic that people want to know more about! I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of your topic and data set.

Requirement: Although you may use tools like Excel, Tableau, Google Charts for analysis, your final visualization product must be web-based visualization using some JavaScript library.

The best projects are ones that allow the user to look at data in multiple ways (through linked charts, for instance).

Forming Groups

Students should work on a project in groups of 2 people (except for those who have already indicated a preference for working solo).

Choose your group members carefully. We will not have enough time to allow for splitting groups once they are formed. Each team will have to describe the contributions of each team member, and each team member will submit evaluations of their fellow team members.

Groups: Indicate your project groups in groups.md in GitLab. You are limited to 2 students per group.

Important Milestones

  • Feb 8 - Initial project description. One-page document listing project group members, dataset to be used, and initial questions/tasks to be addressed. You should also indicate your group and project topic in groups.md in GitLab.
  • Feb 15 - Milestone 1 - Dataset and task definitions. Refined version of your initial project description with more details on your dataset and abstract tasks.
  • Feb 22 - abstract tasks - resubmit Milestone 1 and revise abstract tasks, if needed (see example)
    • updated 2/20 -MCW
  • Mar 1 - Milestone 2 - Analysis of your approach using the Five Design-Sheet Methodology (article, formatted sheets)
    • updated 2/20 -MCW
  • Mar 1 - Milestone 3 - Project proposals presented in class (5 min/group)
  • Mar 7-30 - Check-ins - I would encourage you to meet with me periodically between Milestone 3 and Milestone 4 to get feedback on your project. Send an email to set up an appointment. We can setup WebEx/Skype/Google Chat meetings as well.
  • Apr 5 - Milestone 4 - Project status updates presented in class (5 min/group)
  • May 1 - Project demo videos and final project paper due


Project Proposal Presentation (Mar 1)

  • 5 minutes
  • PDF or Powerpoint format (i.e., make slides)
  • Required elements:
    • group members
    • topic
    • motivation behind your topic choice
    • description of the dataset
    • abstract tasks
    • simple sketch or mockup of a potential design -- ideally based on realization sheet from FdS
    • list of development tools you plan to use
    • initial task division among group members
    • proposed timeline for completing the project
  • Bring a hard-copy of your slides (6 slides/page is fine) to submit to me

Project Status Updates (Apr 5)

  • 5 minutes
  • PDF or Powerpoint format (i.e., make slides)
  • Required elements:
    • group members
    • brief reminder of your project topic
    • simple sketch or mockup of a potential design -- from your project proposal
    • task division among group members
    • current status -- items completed, tasks remaining
    • proposed timeline for completing the project
  • Bring a hard-copy of your slides (6 slides/page is fine) to submit to me

Demo Video (May 1)

  • 5-7 minute video or screencast -- not a live demo
  • The video should briefly describe the problem and data you're visualizing.
  • The video should highlight the main features of the visualization by walking through a scenario (or multiple scenarios).
  • The video should demonstrate that the visualization provides effective representation of the data, uses appropriate colors, and supports multiple tasks through interactivity.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your visualization after the demo.

All groups must either have a member physically present or available via WebEx during the demo time. Online students who work full-time may request a particular time slot between 8:30-11:30am to fit around their work schedule. In-class students are required to attend the entire session.

Paper (May 1)

The final project paper must be formatted according to guidelines and templates (US Letter paper size) for IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. (It should look similar to the InfoVis paper you presented.)

  • required heading elements: Title, Author Names, Author Affiliations (dept, university), Abstract (Index Terms are not required)
  • teaser image on pg 1 is encouraged
  • 5-10 pages

Treat this as you would a conference paper - the paper you presented will likely have an appropriate general outline (ask me if you have questions).

The following sections are required (add other sections as needed):

  • Introduction
    • Provide an overview of the problem that you are addressing with your visualization and discuss some of the questions that a user will be able to answer or explore with your visualization.
  • Related Work
    • Describe and cite any papers or other visualizations that have influenced your work.
  • Data
    • Describe the data used in your visualization, including citations and links to where it was obtained
  • Visualization
    • Describe the main features and idioms used in your visualization
  • Design Decisions -- this may be a subsection of the Visualization section
    • Discuss any design decisions made, including those made at the data/task abstraction level and the visual encoding/interaction idiom level (as done in Chapter 4).
  • Analysis
    • Analyze your system using the what/why/how framework, including creating a table as in Chapter 7. If you use multiple idioms, you may need to include multiple tables.
    • There are some nice examples of how to frame this in Chapter 15. For each of the visualization tools in that chapter, there's a table that describes things like "what: data", "what: derived", "why: tasks", "how: encode".
    • I would encourage you to start putting this table together as soon as possible. The "what" and "why" tasks should be driving how you develop the "how". Remember that the "why: tasks" need to be general, as described in Chapter 3.
  • Conclusions
    • Give a summary of the problem and how your visualization has addressed it.
  • Final Thoughts
    • Describe your experience working on the project. What were problems you faced? What things did you learn?
  • References
    • This includes resources consulted when developing your visualization

Remember that all figures and tables must include appropriate captions (and should be designed according to the principles we've discussed in class). This paper must be in your own words. Especially when describing related work, you must resist the urge to copy (either directly or indirectly) from the paper you are referring to.

See Process and Pitfalls in Writing Information Visualization Research Papers by Tamara Munzner

Project Submission

One member of the group must submit on Blackboard a PDF version of the paper, URL of your demo video, URL of your live project, and a URL to a JPG or PNG image of some interesting part of your visualization (suitable for posting in my InfoVis-Gallery) before the deadline.


40 points

  • Milestones - 10 points
    • Milestone 1 (dataset and task definitions) - 2 points
    • Milestone 2 (FdS analysis) - 3 points
    • Milestone 3 (project proposal) - 3 points
    • Milestone 4 (project status update) - 2 points
  • Demo Video - 15 points
  • Paper - 15 points

Grading Sheet

Previous Projects