Assignment II

Critiquing a visualization

The use of visualization is pervasive in the media: explanatory diagrams in magazines and textbooks, graphs describing statistics and budgets, images showing spatial layouts of objects, new experimental data plotted against theoretical expectations, etc. In each case, the author of the visualization tries to convey a point of view by emphasizing some aspects of the data while toning down other aspects. The result can vary widely, from informative to misleading. How do you fair given such a task? Can you apply the design principles we talked about in class?


Your task is to now critique the visualization you created for assignment 1. Apply the knowledge of design principles that we discussed in class and discuss which aspects of your visualizations you believe effectively communicates the data. Also describe aspects which seem to be important to you and provide a short (1 page) write-up describing your design including one paragraph about the process you used to do the exploration and analysis. Did anything limit or frustrate you? If nothing did, perhaps there was something that was more difficult than you thought it should be.

As different visualizations can emphasize different aspects of a data set, you should document what aspects of the data you are attempting to most effectively communicate. In short, what story (or stories) are you trying to tell? Just as important, also note which aspects of the data might be obscured or down-played due to your visualization design.

In your write-up, you should provide a rigorous rationale for your design decisions. Document the visual encodings you used and why they are appropriate for the data. These decisions include the choice of visualization type, size, color, scale, and other visual elements, as well as the use of sorting or other data transformations. How do these decisions facilitate effective communication?

Understanding the data and evaluating the visualization may take some time. So plan accordingly. Also try to apply the design recommendations discussed in class and our readings. Please feel free to include alternative visualization prototypes (using your favorite tool) as a way to illustrate your critique.

Procedure and Submission

Please submit a PDF-document containing

Submit all files on Git.

Late submission

Late Submissions are possible, yet they will be penalized. Academic Honesty