Skip to main content

Homework #5: Experimenting with Color

For this homework, you may work in a team of 2 or individually. (Teams of 2 are encouraged!) You are encouraged to work with someone you hadn't met before this course.

The assignment for this week is to revisit and revise an earlier assignment in this course. Note: You don't need to work with the same partner if the chosen assignment was a team assignment. Your primary focus will be exploring a wide variety of color schemes and the relative effectiveness in communicating the data to your target audience. A secondary focus is to make a non-color related improvement to your final visualization from the earlier assignment.

  1. For the color experimentation, try all or most of these palettes with your visualization:

    • Shades of grey
    • Black & white
    • Cool vs. warm tones
    • Bold/saturated vs. pastel colors
    • Colorblind aware
    • Light vs. dark background and/or color negation


    Consider using the one of the resources below (or other similar sites) to select colors. Be sure to reference the color resources you used in your writeup.


  2. Collect a wide variety of screenshots of these results and organize them into a .pdf report for this assignment. Also include a screenshot of the visualizations from your original assignment.

    Discuss your rationale for each selecting the colors of each palette and why you assigned each color to the data.

  3. Analyze the effectiveness of each color scheme in relation to your overall purpose and audience for this visualization. How well does it allow the viewer to make accurate conclusions about the data? Might some color choices mislead your viewer?

    Compare the visualizations to each other. Also compare your original color scheme (from the earlier assignment) to these new, more carefully selected, color schemes.

  4. As part of this assignment make a moderate non color-related improvement and/or extension of your earlier assignment submission. This portion of the assignment is open ended.

    This might be the source, quality, and size of the raw data; the algorithms for filtering or processing; the overall design of the visualization or the interactions with your data; or even the toolkit used to produce the visualization.

    Describe these improvements, with examples, as appropriate.

    Include the code you wrote for this visualization as part of your submission.

  5. Share two or three images from your assignment on the Submitty Forum, focusing on your experimentation with color. Only one post per team is necessary, but list the names of all members of the team. In the post, be sure to describe your improvement from the previous assignment and discuss the use of color. You are encouraged to present 'before' and 'after' images.