The final project for this course is an opportunity to apply the theories and techniques of visualization learned in this class to a real-world product, most likely a visual web application (though other mediums are fine too). The project can focus on designing a new type of visualization that solves a problem not addressed adequately by current visualization methods, or applying known visualization techniques to an interesting problem in a new way. Other project ideas are possible, subject to approval. Graduate students and advanced undergraduates are encouraged to work on research projects. You will work in groups of 4-5 people, ideally with a combination of skills and experience in the areas of programming, design, and user research.
Examples of visualizations your projects may aspire to:
Obviously, these were made by experts with more time and experience. These examples should serve as an inspiration.
- For design projects, the design must follow good information visualization practices, as we will be discussing all quarter in class. These projects should take into account the proper use of visualization components such as color, size, position, animation, and so on.
- Your visualizations should take usability issues into account, and should help the user achieve insight on the underlying data or problem that was not possible without the visualization. By insight I mean making the non-visible visible, or showing trends or patterns or outliers or missing information, or by presenting the underlying information in a more understandable way.
- If you're inventing a new kind of visualization, it might be that your results are not entirely successful. That is ok, but be sure to follow good design principles and thoroughly discuss what did and did not work in your design.
- During the course of the project (not at the end), you should conduct an evaluation of your design with at least three members of your intended user group. So, if you are designing a visualization for musicians, the testers should be musicians.
- The final product should be of high quality and focused scope. Don't succumb to scope creep. Select a project your team can fully execute in the time you have.
Project Milestones (details below)
- 1: In-class project pitch
- 2: Project proposal due. (Turn in earlier to get feedback sooner.)
- 3: Receive feedback on proposals.
- 4: In-class "mid-term" presentations.
- 5: In-class final project presentations.
- 6: Final paper and deliverable due.
Project Pitch (Optional)
This is an opportunity to share project ideas with each other. Come to class with an idea or two of what you'd like to build/design. If you like what someone suggests, there'll be a time to begin discussion.
Project Proposal (Due Thurs Jan 24)
The project proposal is intended to help you formulate a project concept and scope. It should be a short (1-2 pages max) description of your intended project and include any sketches or visual aids needed to clarify your concept. The purpose of this assignment is to let me know what you want to build so I can give you feedback early. If necessary, I may ask you to revise your proposal, most likely by focusing the scope. A well-scoped project will be one that can be fully realized and executed well by 4-5 people working about 50 hours each over the next month and a half.
I expect the style of proposal to vary based on the project, but it should include:
- Names of students involved
- Project name
- Project concept and goals. What is the purpose of the visualization?
- Discussion of related work. Your projects should be original and hopefully build on the work of others.
- Roles to be performed by team members (e.g. project manager, programmer, designer, usability evaluator, etc.)
- Week-by-week schedule
- What data (if any) will be used in the visualization.
- Which tools are you considering using to accomplish the goals (this can change if needed).
- What kinds of results you anticipate achieving.
- What kinds of results you would like to achieve but which you probably do not have the time or the tools for.
In-Class Mid-Term Presentation (Due Thurs Feb 7/Tues Feb 12)
On this day, you will demonstrate initial prototypes of your project to the class. Prototypes should start as paper sketches, but by this point you should have moved to a higher-fidelity interactive medium like Apple Keynote or Powerpoint (or perhaps code) so that you can test it with users.
The duration of the demonstration will be 20 minutes: 15 minutes to present and 5 minutes for questions.
In-Class Final Presentation (Due Tues Mar 12/Thurs Mar 14)
For this presentation, you will demonstrate the final version of your visualization to the class. This is an opportunity to show everyone how it works and discuss how you designed and/or built it.
The duration of the final presentation will be 20 minutes: 15 minutes to present and 5 minutes for questions.
Final Paper (Due Fri Mar 15, 6pm)
The final deliverable is a paper on the process your team undertook to complete this project. It should be clearly organized and describe what you made and why you made the design that you did. It should demonstrate completion of each of the milestones described on this page, and include images of each stage of the project, including scans of early designs, photos of usability tests, screenshots, etc. Explain the process you undertook to produce your project, rather than just describing the finished work. It should be sufficiently detailed that others could repeat your process simply from reading your document.
The paper should be about 12-20 pages (4000-5000 words; please don't double-space), and contain an abstract, introduction, previous work section, the design process including milestones, results of the user study, discussion, redesign, results, further work, acknowledgments, references, and appendices.
If you have produced original research, the paper should be suitable for submission to an appropriate conference or journal.
If you are not using a conference or journal format, please make an effort to show what you have learned from class. Mention specific details. Show your process, not just your final product.
Provide a link to your working demo and your source code (if you have a demo).
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. The final paper is to be uploaded to the class discussion board.
Here is an example from HCDE 511 Winter 2012: Example final project writeup
- Class demonstrations (20%)
- Quality of final writeup (30%)
- Quality of visualization design or product (50%)