Reading Assignment 2: Perspectives on Visualization

by Mike Gleicher on January 19, 2015

Due date: 11:59pm, Monday, January 26th.

Turn-in link: ‘Reading 2’ discussion on Canvas.

The reading assignment is due before Tuesday, January 27th, so we can look at your responses to the written part before class. Note that “before Tuesday” means sometime Monday – 1am Tuesday is not before Tuesday.

Different people have different ideas as to what visualization is, and what kinds of visualization there are. So in this reading, we’ll try to get some particularly relevant viewpoints. There are purposefully multiple viewpoints represented here, so there are multiple things to read.

  1. Chapter 1 of Munzner.
    This is more about “why” (which is the next reading/lecture), but it’s a good place to start.
  2. Edward Tufte. Graphical Excellence. Chapter 1 of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. 2nd edition (any edition is OK). Graphics Press, 2001. (in the course reader).
    If you’re not familiar with Tufte, you might want to read my explanation of him first. This chapter is a mix of what is vis, why to do vis, and how we’ll know it’s good (the three questions we’ll start the class with).
  3. Classifications of Visualizations. Chapter 1 of Designing Data Visualizations, by Illinsky & Steele (again in the course reader).
    I like this chapter because it gets at some terminology and some distinctions that others don’t bother to mention (like explore vs. explain).

The following are a set of blog posts to help you get a sense of some other viewpoints, and kinds of visualization.


I don’t agree with everything that you’ve read – but at this point, the goal is to give you many different perspectives on what visualization is, not just mine (you’ll get enough of it!)

Yes, there are 7 readings – but they are relatively light – 4 of them are short blog posts.

For the discussion… After you’ve read these, go to the reading discussion for Reading 2 on Canvas. Make an initial posting answering the following questions:

What is your perspective on what visualization is, and how does it relate to what others had to say about it?  How do different types of visualization fit into your view?

You need to make your initial posting before January 27th. After you’ve made your initial posting, you can discuss with your discussion group further (and we’ll consider discussion in grading).

We’ll map Canvas’ 5 point scale to:

0 = Nothing turned in
1 = Initial posting turned in late
2 = Partially Done (missing some aspect)
3 = Minimally Done
4 = Done Well
5 = Above and beyond the call of duty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Previous post:

Next post: