Readings 01: What is Visualization?

First, reading over the course web (at least the stuff on the Getting Started (Start Here!) page) is an important part of the required readings. It’s a big part of the “What is this class and how does it work?” learning goal.

Second, the assignment descriptions and weekly reading lists really are readings themselves. I will relay content, and give some context for things you will read and do.

For the actual “content” readings.. The main goal here is to give you a sense of what visualization is. I want you to get some different perspectives, so you can form your own. This is the learning goal.

I’ve picked four things - one from me, two from textbooks, and some blog postings.

Note: in most weeks, the readings are divided to be read in relationship to the lectures. This week, everything is for the end of the week since it’s a short week.

Some of these are from textbooks (see the Books)). A secondary goal is to introduce you to the people you’ll be learning from this semester (including me!). I recommend reading things in this order.

  1. My 1 - What Is Visualization and How do We Do It? page which echoes the introductory lecture.

    This will give you a sense of where I am coming from, and where we are going to.

    The What Is This Class and Why? is also an important part of this, but you should have read that already (it was required as part of the “first” thing up top).

    The other pages connected to this are also required reading: 2 - What does this Visualization make Easy to See? and 3 - A Simple Example: 4 Design Moves on a Table.

  2. What we talk about when we talk about Visualization (Chapter 1 of The Truthful Art) (theTruthfulArtCh1.pdf 5.7mb) This will be your first exposure to Alberto Cairo’s books. These are discussed at Cairo: The Truthful Art and The Functional Art. A great place to start the class.

    For a great (but optional) introduction to Cairo’s style and philosophy, read the “Introduction” (which is before Chapter 1) (theTruthfulArtCh0.pdf 7.7mb).

  3. What’s Vis? (Chapter 1 from Munzner’s Visualization Analysis & Design) (Munzner-01-Intro.pdf 0.3mb)

    This is the main textbook of the class, and is important to get the main ideas.

  4. Two Blog Postings by Robert Kosara: What is Visualization? A Definition and The Many Names of Visualization.

    Read these to get a viewpoint different than mine. Robert is a visualization researcher at Tableau (and in academia before that).