Professor of Computer Graphics Technology Vetria Byrd discusses efforts to broaden the data visualization field, beginning with a diversity workshop she organized at Clemson University, which led to the creation of a new undergraduate major at Purdue Polytechnic Institute where she teaches. Drawing on fields from engineering to the arts, she encourages and trains students to tell stories with data visualization.
Columbia University professor Barbara Tversky describes how visual representations can be empowered through narrative, providing them with agency, emotion, and suspense. Research shows that some visual elements have particular meaning compared with others.
Indiana University PhD candidate Andreas Bueckle describes research on public data literacy in museums, and how user-driven visualization design can help public audiences better understand what might otherwise be abstract concepts or unfamiliar visualization types.
Northwestern University cognitive psychologist Steve Franconeri describes how the “curse of knowledge” can lead to data visualizations that are easily interpreted by experts but ambiguous or confusing to new users. To avoid this pitfall, Franconeri points to the way data journalists use text annotations and highlights.
University of British Columbia computer scientist Tamara Munzner describes how research into the individual elements of data visualizations can help guide design choices for creating more intuitive visualizations and avoiding unnecessary confusion.
New York Times reporter and graphics editor Nadja Popovich discusses the ways that visualizations of global climate change can be personalized. By inviting the audience to engage and customize climate data through online media, the visualization designers can humanize the data and create a deeper understanding of how global phenomena will impact readers personally.
University of Utah biochemist Janet Iwasa discusses the importance of visualization in forming scientific hypotheses. Visualizing protein function, a major driver of cellular processes, requires many types of data in visualizations. Translating their hypotheses into 3-D animations allow biochemists to communicate, critique, and refine the research.
Stamen Design founder Eric Rodenbeck discusses the intellectual power of data visualizations especially when data is fuzzy and open to human imagination and interpretation. But he strikes a cautionary note about the vast amount of data available in the cloud that consumes staggering amounts of energy and can leave us “lost in a sea of information.”
Robert Semper, Chief Science Officer, and Jennifer Frazier, Senior Scientist at the Exploratorium, describe the importance of visualizing data and outline goals for the conference: bring together experts and practitioners, promote dialogue, identify successes and failures, and surface future research and development to guide the field.