DC1 Peer Critique

As part of Design Challenge 1, you must critique 3 of your classmate’s designs.

Here are detailed instructions on how this will work.

Your peer reviews will be provided (anonymously) to your classmates (including the visualization author). To make the anonymity work correctly, we will follow the procedure below. It is important that you turn in DC1 Handin: Design Exercise 4 (due Mon, Oct 18) on time, and that your PDFs have no identifying information in them (e.g. do not put your name, your NetID).

Your critiques will be turned in as part of a Canvas Form: DC1 Peer Critique: Design Exercise 6 (due Mon, Nov 1).

How this will work:

  1. The course staff will assign each student to a random number from 1-48 (there are 48 students in class). We will tell each student their number - but please don’t share your number with other students. The TA will send you your number by email on or before Monday, October 25th.

  2. The course staff will choose a design from each student who has turned in design for Design Challenge 1 Phase 4 in a timely fashion. If you do not turn in a design, you will be penalized, and we will use a design from last year for peer critique (so reviewers have something to review). Note: the course staff will pick one from each person, the author does not get to choose.

  3. We will name the selected designs NN.pdf (where NN is the student number) and place them in a folder on Canvas. All students will have access to all 48 PDF files. We will make an announcement when this folder is ready. The folder is DC1_Peer_Review.

  4. Each student is “assigned” to critique the 3 designs with numbers after theirs (using modulo arithmetic to wrap back to 1 if you go off the end). For example, if your number is 17, you must review 18.pdf, 19.pdf and 20.pdf. If your number is 47, you need to review 48, 1, and 2.

  5. If you want to critique more than 3 designs, you may critique the next few after the 3 that you were required to review. For example, if your number is 19, you are required to review 20, 21 and 22, and you may optionally review 23 (and as many as you want in order). Reviews beyond the first three are optional, they will not count towards your grade. Note: the Canvas form only allows you to enter four reviews (three and one optional). If you intend to review more, contact the TA for instructions.

  6. You can get the PDFs for the designs you need to critique by looking in the directory (see #3).

  7. You will enter your critiques as a Canvas survey DC1 Peer Critique: Design Exercise 6 (due Mon, Nov 1) The specific questions are detailed below. We suggest that you write your critiques off-line and copy/paste them into the form since you must enter them all together. Also, we don’t know what will happen with formatting (so you might want to avoid using formatting in your answers).

  8. After the assignment is due, we will release all critiques (without any name information, but with the number of the design they are critiquing). This way, you can look for the critiques of your design (you know what number you are). You can also look for other critiques of the designs that you critiqued (to compare how good your critique was). If you want, you can read any, or all of the critiques. Note: all critiques will be made available to the entire class.

  9. The course staff will grade the 3 critiques you wrote and assign a grade and post it on Canvas. We are grading the critiques. You are not graded on the quality of the designs you critique.

The review form has three questions beyond the number of the visualization:

  1. Summarize the “story” that the visualization is trying to convey. If you feel the visualization lacks a story, explain. This is generally a sentence or two.

  2. Describe the visualization (preferably in terms of its encodings, but you can describe it in terms of common chart types). This is generally a few sentences (1-3). This is an opportunity to note the key design decisions.

  3. Provide a critique of the visualization. While the central focus should be the design’s effectiveness at conveying the story, you can/should consider specific decisions that the designer made.

Some notes:

  1. Critiques usually identify a few specific details and connect them to the overall effectiveness (or lack thereof). You don’t need to be exhaustive and list many details, but you should discuss some.

  2. Critiques can discuss good and bad elements of a design. Often critiques involve some of each. It is rare that there is nothing good.

  3. Remember our framework for critique from the beginning of the semester: identify specific design decisions that influence the effectiveness and connect them to principles.