Munzner: Visualization Analysis and Design

This is the closest thing to a “primary textbook” for the class. The course shares a similar philosophy to the book, and we’ll read most of the chapters. The UW library has electronic copies, so you do not need to buy it.

You can access the book online via the UW library (EZ proxy). If you want to buy it, you can find it online.

Munzner Cover

This is a “graduate level computer science” textbook – that shares a similar philosophy to how I like to think about (and teach) visualization. It’s really good at giving you a way to think about visualization, and some examples of how the ideas are applied. It is of limited use as a reference book, and it doesn’t talk about practical issues at all. Over the course of the semester we will read almost all chapters of Munzer’s book.

This book will give you a good way to think about visualization. It’s not about the details, or the specific techniques. It totally avoids the discussion of how to do implementation. Tamara (I refer to her by first name, since we’ve been friends for a long time) has thought long and hard about this stuff, and has a coherent way to talk about it.

A lot of the structure of the book comes from a series of papers (that you still might want to read). However, the book uses the ideas from the paper (notably the nested model) as a way to organize a lot of other stuff you need to know.

Is the book perfect? Not by a long shot. The book is really designed to help CS graduate students prepare to be visualization researchers by giving them solid foundations, and a collection of examples from the research literature. There are some topics it totally leaves out (perception, implementation, specific designs, …). We’ll get those with other readings. She tends to over-emphasize her own work.

She also has a pretty strong and specific viewpoint – which I don’t always agree with. However, since her viewpoint is (almost) always well thought out and explained, it is worth hearing. It’s just important that you get some other viewpoints as well.