CS 795/895 - Information Visualization
Fall 2012: Tues/Thurs 3-4:15pm, E&CS 2120

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Homework 2: Table and Graph Design

Assigned: Thursday, Aug 30, 2012
Due: Tuesday, Sep 11, 2012


The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with practice and experience designing the appearance of data tables and graphs.


This assignment is based on a visual dashboard design challenge issued by Stephen Few. See http://www.perceptualedge.com/blog/?p=1308

According to Few, "A dashboard is a visual display of the most important information needed to achieve one or more objectives; consolidated and arranged on a single screen so the information can be monitored at a glance."

The goal is to develop a dashboard (set of graphs and/or tables) to allow a teacher to "rapidly monitor what's going on with her students in preparation for the day's class" (from the description in the data set Excel file). So, all of the relevant information should be displayed on a single screen and may include multiple graphs and tables.

Few's contest runs until Sep 21. Feel free to submit your designs to the contest. (Note, though, that Few plans to critique submissions on his website.)

Data Set


The dataset includes Excel sheets with the following data:

  • student data
  • student absences - missed all day
  • student tardies - late
  • class data - summary info
  • school data - summary info for the school
  • district data - summary info for the school district


For more information on dashboard design, see these articles from Stephen Few:


Turn-in a hard-copy of your dashboard at the beginning of class on the due date, and put an electronic version online at http://www.cs.odu.edu/~username/cs795f12/hw2.html.


I will evaluate the effectiveness and design aspects of your creations. Of course this is subjective, but I will look for dashboards that apply the design recommendations discussed in class and in our readings.