CS 725/825 - Information Visualization
Spring 2019: Wednesdays, 9:30am-12:15pm, Dragas 1102

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Course Overview

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The main goal of this course is to equip you with the background and tools needed to develop effective visualizations in your own research and future work. Part of developing effective visualizations requires analyzing existing visualizations and visualization problems.

One important piece of developing an effective visualization is knowing what not to do. In addition to studying recommended approaches, this course should also prepare you to rule out visualization approaches where there are mismatches in human capabilities or perception or mismatches with the intended task.

Course Organization

This course will be organized based on the "flipped classroom" model. Students will be assigned readings and homework that will be due before class time. There will be few, if any, lectures by the instructor. Class time will be spent on discussions of the assignments, student presentations, and in-class assignments. It is essential that each student be prepared to fully participate in class discussions each week.

Announcements, submission of assignments, and grading will be done via the class Blackboard site.

In-class work and hosting of code will be done via the ODU-CS Gitlab Community class group.

The required textbook for this course is Visualization Analysis and Design by Tamara Munzner.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain at a high-level the "why-what-how" framework for analyzing visualization use.
  • Given a visualization, identify the actions the vis allows and the targets of those actions.
  • Transform domain-specific tasks into the task abstraction framework.
  • Given a dataset, develop questions about the data that can effectively be answered with a visualization.
  • Given an academic visualization paper, identify the main visualization problem it addresses and summarize its findings.
  • Describe the channels of visual encoding and order them from most effective to least effective.
  • Identify a visualization where an inappropriate arrange design choice was made and explain why the choice was inappropriate.
  • Explain the importance choosing an appropriate colormap.
  • Critique and redesign an existing visualization.
  • Use D3 (or a D3 API, such as Vega or Vega-Lite) to create an effective interactive web-based visualization of real-world data.
  • Explain and defend the design choices that you made in creating your web-based visualization.

Summary Schedule

Note: This is a tentative schedule and may be updated during the semester.

Week Date Topic Textbook Reading Homework Due Other
1 Jan 16 Introduction, What's Vis and Why Do It?
Objectives
Ch 1 class meeting cancelled -- see WebEx
2 Jan 23 Data
Objectives
Ch 2 HW1
3 Jan 30

Marks and Channels
Objectives

Ch 5 HW2
4 Feb 6 Arrange Tables
Objectives
Ch 7 HW3
5 Feb 13 Tasks
Objectives
Ch 3 (3.1-3.5) HW4
6 Feb 20 Analysis
Objectives
Ch 4 Project
Milestone 1
3 presentations
7 Feb 27 Rules of Thumb, Maps
Ch 6 Objectives, Ch 8 Objectives
Ch 6, Ch 8.1-8.3 3 presentations
8 Mar 6 Map Color and Other Channels, Item Aggregation
Ch 10 Objectives, Ch 13 Objectives
Ch 10, Ch 13.4.1 Project
Milestone 2
3 presentations
Mar 13 No Class - Spring Break
9 Mar 20 Multiple Views
Objectives
Ch 12 Project
Milestone 3
3 presentations
10 Mar 27 Storytelling Vis 3 presentations
11 Apr 3 Manipulate View
Objectives
Ch 11
12 Apr 10 Reduce Items and Attributes
Objectives
Ch 13
13 Apr 17 Project Demos Project
Milestone 4
14 Apr 24 FINAL EXAM