2020.12.11 Improving a Demo Visualization


Over the course of the term, we've made a number of different visualizations during lectures. While the primary goal of the lectures was never to create a polished, publishable visualization, it's never a bad idea to consider what changes it would take to prepare a visualization for publication and sharing. In this activity, you will take an existing lecture demo and change, augment, and add content to make it ready for a web audience. Here are some factors to consider:

Please follow this procedure:

Step 1 - 12 minutes - [GROUP] Pick visualization and critique
  1. As a group, look at each of the visualization choices and choose one to improve.
  2. Together, take a look at the visualization and critique it based on the common pattern we have used in past critiques (included at the bottom). Identify between 3 and 5 specific areas that are in need of improvement (e.g. deepening interactivity, improving a visual channel, adding supporting contents).
  3. Rank those areas in order of importance using any method you'd like

Step 2 - 10 minutes - [INDIV] Sketch improvements
  1. Now, working individually, begin making either one sketch of an improved visualization or a series of idea sketches for each improvement area. Keep them low fidelity and focus on the specific critique items to which you are responding.
  2. Refer back to the visualization and your critique.
  3. Keep polishing your ideas until your group reconvenes.

Step 3 - 15 minutes - [GROUP] Final design
  1. As a group, go around and discuss each person's sketches. Keep it to 1 minute per sketch.
  2. Working together, create a consensus design sketch. You will need to pick a group member to record your final idea and present it to the class, but everyone should sketch as they go.
  3. We will reconvene at the end to check out everyone's improved visualizations.

Your visualization options
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. In your group, feel free to set up whatever norms you prefer for design criticism.

Here are some questions to help guide your critique: