MIS5208 – Prof. Johnson – Data Visualization Exercise Objective: Background

MIS5208 – Prof. Johnson – [email protected]
Data Visualization Exercise
Objective: Develop a greater understanding of visual metaphors and the effective use of
symbolic communication.
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_visualization
Data visualization is the study of the visual representation of data, meaning "information which has been abstracted in
some schematic form, including attributes or variables for the units of information.”
According to Friedman (2008) the "main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively
through graphical means. It doesn’t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely
sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand,
providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet
designers often fail to achieve a balance between design and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to
serve their main purpose — to communicate information.”
Step 1: Form teams of 2-3 people each
Step 2: Gather Examples (20 minutes)
As a team, look around Alter and Speakman Halls (inside or outside) for a variety of
symbols. Describe the symbol, its context, and intended meaning. Return to the
classroom promptly by the agreed upon time. (Bonus option: email a picture to me!)
Step 3: Group Discussion
Each group will take turns reporting on identified symbols.
We will compare and contrast examples of symbolic communication.
What visual metaphors are most effective? Which are least effective?
What are some assumptions inherent in symbolic communication?