Welcome to the course website for i247, Information Visualization and Presentation.


Cecilia Aragon ( )
5 South Hall, 510-486-4106
Office Hours: Mon, Wed, 2-3pm, 5 South Hall.


Ljuba Miljkovic ()
Office Hours: By appointment

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.

In 1998 when Marti Hearst first taught this course, the field was very young, she 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 or a history of all information visualization techniques would not be feasible nor particularly enlightening.

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.

This course will also have a focus on how to present information clearly and effectively.

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 12:30pm-2:00pm in 202 South Hall. The format of the class will be a mix of lecturing, looking at visualizations, student presentations and in-class design and activities.


Grading will be 50% on assignments, readings, and in-class work and 50% on a final project. (See projects from last time for an idea of what they are like.)

Readings and Books

Readings will consist of one required text: Stephen Few's Now You See It, and a number of papers that will be accessible online or handed out in class.

Highly recommended but not required: Edward Tufte's The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

Guide to using the Tableau software package:
The Beginner's Guide to Data Visualization.

O'Reilly's Actionscript 3.0 Cookbook can be read online here.

O'Reilly's Essential Actionscript 3.0 is also good, but takes longer to get through. Access it online here.


We'll be using the Tableau software package extensively. You will receive a code for accessing it; do not share this with others. It only works under windows, so Mac users will have to dual boot or use a designated lab machine. Access Tableau. Tableau's data visualization software is provided through the Tableau for Teaching program.

Computer Accounts

If you are not an ischool student, see Roberta (roberta@ischool) in 210 South Hall.