Course Description

Information visualization is the pictorial representation of data.

  • Successful visualizations capitalize on our capacity to recognize and understand patterns presented in information displays.
  • Conversely, they require that writers of scientific papers, software designers and other providers of visual displays understand what works and what does not work to convey their message.

This course will examine a variety of issues related to data visualization from a largely psychological perspective, but will also touch upon other related communities of research and practice related to this topic:

  • history of data visualization,
  • computer science and statistical software,
  • visual design,
  • human factors.

We will consider visualization methods for a wide range of types of data from the points of view of both the viewer and designer/producer of graphic displays.

Overview & Introduction

  • Lecture notes: 1up PDF; 4up PDF
  • Assignment:

    • Blogs: Explore one or two of the blogs or web resources listed in the lecture notes or in Resources. Find a few examples of kinds of graphs you find interesting or worth exploring more.
    • Good/bad graphs Explore the literature in your area, say several issues of one journal. Find one example of a data display (graph or table) that communicates particularly well, and one example of a display that communicates badly.

Topics:

  • Books, readings, blogs & web resources
  • Goals of visualization; visualization as communication
  • Roles of graphics in data analysis & presentation
  • Effective data display
  • Graphs: Good/bad, Excellent/evil

Varieties of information visualization

  • Lecture notes: 1up PDF; 4up PDF
  • Assignment:
    • From the readings that you have done so far, find one example of a data graph that attempts to tell an interesting story of a useful topic. How well does it succeed? How could it be improved?

Topics:

  • Data graphs: 1D – 3D
  • Thematic maps
  • Network and tree visualization
  • Animation & interactive graphics

Readings:

History of data visualization

Topics:

  • Overview: The Milestones Project
  • The first statistical graph
  • The Big bang: William Playfair
  • Moral statistics: the birth of social science
  • Graphs in the public interest: Nightingale, Farr and Snow
  • The Golden Age
  • Case study: Re-Visions of Minard

Readings:

Data Journalism

Readings

The Language of Graphs: from Bertin to GoG to ggplot2

Topics

  • Early attempts at standardization of graphs
  • Bertin: Semiology of Graphics
  • Graphics programming languages
  • Wilkinson: The Grammar of Graphics
  • Wickham: ggplot2

ggplot2: Basics

The next two sessions, devoted to developing graphs with ggplot2 and related methods will take place in the Hebb lab, Rm 059 BSB.

Readings

ggplot2: Going further in the tidyverse

Topics

  • Data wrangling: getting your data into shape
  • Visualizing models: broom
  • ggplot2 extensions
  • tables in R

Readings

Telling Stories with Pictures: Tales from a graphic designer

Jamie Waese, Senior Manager of the Data Visualization Lab for the TD Bank Group will give a guest presentation, with the tentative title, My travels from children’s TV to visualizing plant biology to directing data visualization efforts for a major bank.

Readings

  • ePlant, a data visualization system allowing plant biologists visualize the natural connections between DNA sequences, natural variation (polymorphisms), molecular structures, protein-protein interactions, and gene expression patterns at multiple levels.

2019 Student presentations

2018 Student presentations

These will take place March 22, 29 & April 5 in the classroom. Due to the strike, these are now being done outside the classroom by web-based videos. See the 6135 Presentations spreatsheet to sign up for a topic.

 

Copyright © 2018 Michael Friendly. All rights reserved.

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