Welcome to the course Website for IS247, Information Visualization and Presentation!


Marti Hearst (hearst@sims.berkeley.edu)
212 South Hall, 510-642-8016

Jeff Heer (jheer@cs.berkeley.edu)
Office Hours: Wednesday 1-2:30, 210 South Hall

Course Objectives

The goal of information visualization is the unveiling of the underlying structure of large or abstract data sets using visual representations that utilize the powerful processing capabilities of the human visual perceptual system. Information visualization is an exciting topic, and the last decade has witnessed the development of many interesting ideas about how to visualize abstract information. However, to date, its use in every day products and applications has not yet lived up to its promise.

In 1998 when I first taught this course, the field was very young, I knew every piece of work that had been done, and the course was a survey of the field. Now the field is very active and a survey a survey or a history of all information visualization techniques would not be feasible nor particularly enlightening.

Instead, this course will take a critical stance towards the field of information visualization. Rather than survey existing approaches, we will analyze the factors contribute to success or lack thereof, as a means to determine how to devise future successful visualizations. Criteria for success in this analysis are either positive results from usability studies or wide adoption by the target user population.

There are many related topics that this class will not address. These include: scientific visualization, cartography, computer graphics, and visualization as an artistic enterprise.

Class Meetings

Class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30am-12:00 in 202 South Hall. The format of the class will be a mix of lecturing, looking at visualizations, student presentations and in-class design.


Grading will be 50% on assignments, readings, and in-class work and 50% on a final project.

Readings and Books

Readings will consist of one required book, Stephen Few's Show Me the Numbers, as well as a number of papers that will be accessible online or handed out in class.

Computer Accounts

See Roberta (roberta@sims) in 210 South Hall.