CSCI-4973 - Spring 2012
Introduction to Visualization
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Assignment #2: Using a New (to you) Visualization Tool

The primary goal for this assignment is to familiarize yourself with a new visualization tool. The tool will probably be a computer program or programming language/environment. It should be a tool you haven't used before, or be a significant feature that you haven't used before in a tool that you have some familiarity with.

Some possible choices:

Once you've selected a new (to you) tool or significant new (to you) feature, read more about the tool/feature, and learn what types of visualizations it excels at.

Then identify a simple, small, no-effort-to-collect dataset that will benefit from this type of visualization and and create a basic visualization of the data using the tool. Most of your time for this assignment should be spent learning how to use the new tool, experimenting with features, settings, and controls, and producing a few different sample visualizations showing the range of control and the range of possibilities you have with the tool. Ideally there will be some programming involved in using the tool (but this will depend on the chosen tool).

Prepare at least two different visualizations of the same (or similar) datasets using this tool. These visualizations might be different similarly-good ways of visualizing the data OR they might be iterations on a similar design (changing colors, changing labels, etc.) Compare the visualizations. Write a paragraph or two analyzing the positive and negative characteristics of each visualization.

Additionally, write up a review of your chosen visualization tool. Your audience for the review is your fellow classmates. Include links to any online documentation, books, or other resources that are helpful in learning the tool. Describe what this tool does well. (You should have some nice things to say, otherwise go back and pick a different tool!) For what visualizations would you recommend this tool? What are the limitations of this tool? What are some suggestions/cautions to others who consider using this tool?

Record (in your README.txt) how you spent your time for this homework assignment, with respect to the different stages of visualization.

Target Visualization Stage: Visualization Execution (primary), Visualization Revision (secondary)

How to Submit

Log on to LMS and upload your review of your selected visualization tool, your two (or more) created visualizations, and your discussion of these visualizations to the "Assignment #2 New Visualization Tools" discussion. Separately, submit the same material PLUS a plaintext README.txt (using the provided template) and any source code you wrote to the homework server. (You do not need to submit a complete buildable software project, since that would require the instructor to install of the visualization tool software, etc. Just submit source code you wrote). Also be sure to look at your fellow students' posts and make comments.

Assignment Due: Tuesday February 7th, 11:59pm