2020.09.04 Web Visualization Critique

Throughout the term we will be critiquing visualizations we find on the web as well as our own visualizations. By doing critique we help to refine our sensibility for design and build a library of effective (and ineffective) design patterns to use in our own work. In class today we'll start things off by critiquing visualizations together and then in smaller groups.

  1. For the first critique, we will all be examining this example highlighted by researcher Robert Kosara.
  2. We will then break into small groups.
  3. At the bottom of this file you will see a long list of visualization examples. As a group, pick one to critique.
  4. For the next 20 or so minutes, work together to understand, interpret, and eventually critique the visualization you chose. There are some helpful guidelines below. Take notes so that you can later describe your critique to your classmates.
  5. If you feel you’ve done enough looking and want to build a better visualization of the same data, feel free to sketch up some improved re-design ideas to present to the class.
  6. If sketching isn't your group's forté, feel free to take a look at a second visualization example.

Critique Guide
Design critique can take any number of forms. Some outline pros and cons, or identify particular visual elements and break them down. Others start with the data and discuss the construction of the visualization from the ground up.

Here are some questions to help guide your critique:

Visualization examples for critique:

  1. Science Paths
  2. Racial Inequality in the United States
  3. Rhythm of Food
  4. Flood Phenomena in Europe
  5. An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton
  6. XKCD History of the US Congress
  7. Histography.io
  8. NYT Rent Calculator
  9. Five Years of Drought
  10. WSJ Job Market Tracker