The Week in Vis: Week 04

This week, we’ll learn about encodings the way we map data to things we see. Encodings give the basics building blocks that we build visualizations from. The key idea is that rather than thinking about chart types, we think about them in terms of building blocks. That way we don’t need to learn zillions of chart types… we learn a few basic building blocks that we can assemble into charts as needed. An advantage to this approach: it lets us reason about why we might make certain choices.

We’re also into Design Challenge 1: the design exercises have you work with Tableau, and this will build up to the assignment that makes you work with real data.

This is a pretty “normal” week - design exercise due, lectures, readings, discussion, seek and find.

The topic of encodings will hopefully help a lot of things come together - we’ll see how the charts we’re so used to looking at (like bar charts and line charts) can be viewed as being built of smaller pieces. We’ll do some design exercises in class to help us explore how these mappings can be altered.

You should be aware of Design Challenge 1: One Dataset / Four Stories, even though we are at the start. Design Exercise 1: Try Tableau is due Monday, and Design Exercise 2: Make some visualizations is due the following Monday. You might want to look ahead at the later (and larger) phases of the assignment in Design Challenge 1: One Dataset / Four Stories.