Hands-on workshop on effective data visualization - Oct 23, 2021

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April, Becky Hansis-O’Neill, Benjamin Hamilton, Brett Huffman, Bryan Pierce, Chris Imgarten, Dr. Carletta D. Washington, Faraneh Shamserad, Gabriela Hernandez, Jake Shpringman, Jiajing Chen, Joel Fecke, Karthik Reddy Vanga, Keerthi Vakkalagadda, Lalith reddy, Mannam Jahnavi Deepika, Natalie Piper, Oscar Gordillo, Paola Garcia Egan, Qing Snyder, Santosh Kumar, Sanzida Hoque, Sara Mousavinia, Sean Xu, Shelley Espinoza, Suresh Pokhrel, Tareq Nabhan, Timothy Schultz, and Vijaya Madhuri Puli.

Seventy people had applied, we accepted 50, 35 confirmed to participate, and 29 attended and completed the workshop.

Distributions of participants:

Morning session

9:00 AM 20 min 📖   Types of plots
9:20 AM 15 min Introductions (your name & the number of a plot that you liked/disliked)
9:35 AM 5 min Overview (concept maps, content not scaffolded, content availability, etc.)
9:40 AM 15 min Demos of plotting tools (Tableau & D3.js)
9:55 AM 15 min 📖   Excellent, good, bad, and weird plots (without our analysis)
10:10 AM 10 min Discussion - Excellent, good, bad, and weird plots (our analysis)
10:20 AM 30 min 📖   How to choose a correct chart for your data?
    ✏️   Task: Global smartphone shipment market share / Solution
    ✏️   Task: Social media usage / Solution
    ✏️   Task: Too many bars / Solution
10:50 AM 15 min 📖   Effectiveness, limitations, and human perception
11:05 AM 10 min ✏️   Task: Rank elementary visual perception tasks / Solution
    ✏️   Task: Pie chart / Solution
    ✏️   Task: Chartjunks in a 3D bar diagram / Solution
11:15 AM 25 min 📖   Plotting using logarithmic scales
    ✏️   Task: Plot traffic fatalaties data / Possible solutions
11:40 AM 20 min 📖   Scientific plotting
    ✏️   Task: Assessing signal predictions / Solution

Lunch 🥪 Noon to 1 PM

Optional readings during lunch:

Afternoon session

1:00 PM 10 min 📖   Graphical excellence
1:10 PM 10 min 📖   Five qualities of good visualizations
1:20 PM 25 min 📖   Minard’s & Marey’s / printed charts
1:45 PM 10 min 📖   Graphical integrity
1:55 PM 15 min 📖   Visualizations should be naked
    ✏️   Task: Maximize data ink ratio in a box plot / Solution
2:10 PM 15 min 📖   Chartjunks (The extreme East)
    📖   Density
    ✏️   Task: Chartjunks in a bar / Solution
2:25 PM 15 min 📖   Read any two pages from Storytelling (The extreme West)
    📖   Words, numbers, and images—together
2:40 PM 10 min Discussion - “Now that we have shown you the extremes!”
2:50 PM 10 min 📖   Color
3:00 PM 5 min ✏️   Feedbacks by the participants
3:05 PM 10 min 📖   There is no ideal way
3:15 PM 30 min ✏️   Concept maps
3:45 PM 15 min 🎓   Certificate & photo

Concept maps

Summary concept maps drawn by the participants.



We are thankful to:

We are NOT thankful to Grammarly because we had to pay to use their services. It should be free, at least for students.


Those who did not know how to write a computer program thanked us for running a workshop without coding. They had thought that all events by a computer science department involved programming.

Many participants found the automatic timekeeper on the screen to be a ‘genius’ tool. Bikash came up with this idea a day before the workshop when we arranged the tables and chairs at the venue. We are proud of this innovation.

One of the participants confirmed to join at 1 AM that very day (just 8 hours before the start). One of us was still up at that time preparing for the workshop, and we accepted her. At midnight she emailed us asking why she wasn’t accepted. We found out she was accepted, but she had entered an incorrect email address.