The Week in Vis: Week 02 (Sep 13-17)

This is our first full week of class. Hopefully, you will get used to the The Weekly Rhythm. This week will follow the “usual” pattern.

This week, will be a bit of a broad subject intro, and then we’ll get into “design process”.

Last week, we asked the question “What is Visualization?” And my answer was “a picture that helps someone do something.” The follow up question “Why would you do that?” There’s a simple version of the answer “because a picture can help that someone do the something.” But that exposes the real why questions: Why can “pictures” help people do things? Why might we think that a picture is a good choice?

Short version: There are things that visualizations are particularly good at doing. And there are perceptual and cognitive reasons why visualizations are good at helping people with tasks. The work this week will drill deeper into that. We’ll look at some things visualizations can “do” (in terms of helping people with tasks), as well as some of the cognitive and perceptual reasons why they are so good at helping. We should begin to see why visualization can be a good choice (i.e., why choose visualization and not something else).

Much of this week is to set up for deeper explorations in the future.

Unfortunately, trying to cover this in a week is daunting. In prior years, I asked people to read even more than I am asking this year. I strongly recommend the optional reading (a Chapter from Ware, and a Chapter from Card et al).

Another piece this week is to get at some of the “how will we learn about visualization” by learning about critique and redesign. This is a generally useful skill - but not one that we usually explicitly talk about. We’ll have some readings to get you to think about critique and redesign, and an in class conversation and exercise to get some practice with our critique skills.

Hopefully, last week you figured out the basic class mechanics. If you haven’t done last weeks' assignments, please do them first. See The Week in Vis: Week 01: Getting Started. For now, we’ll accept things late.

One thing that did not happen in week 1 (and probably won’t happen in week 2) is our first design exercise. Usually, the first week has 2 days, and I like to do it the 2nd day. With this year’s schedule, I am not sure when to put it…