Data Visualization and Communication

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Spring Start Date: January 16, 2024
Instructor: Kaylyn Levine

Decisions in our work lives are driven more and more by data. Analyzing this data can reveal patterns and relationships that can be used to better inform decision-makers. One way to present this analysis is through data visualization, which is the graphical representation of information.

Visualizations such as charts, graphs, or maps can help make data easier to understand, leading to better decisions. Data-driven decisions could mean the difference between the success or failure of any organization. There are many tools for visualizing data, but without a solid grasp on the fundamentals of graphic design and perceptual theory, visualizations may not convey the intended message.

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of data visualization and communication. Students will learn the ways humans use their cognitive and perceptual abilities to comprehend information, best practices for creating compelling and effective data visualizations, and the many nuanced factors influencing the successful application of these practices.

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Apply a framework for communication to get the right people to the right content at the right time
  • Recognize, explain, and identify solutions for some of the challenges we face working with data
  • Produce an entire conceptual data story in a form that will allow for future execution of detailed individual components
  • Describe human visual perception and apply it to specific design and visualization decisions
  • Effectively use visual variables such as size, value, texture, color, orientation, and shape to communicate information
  • Recognize the purpose for different data visuals and when and how to apply them
  • Create impactful maps and visualizations that enable understanding of complex information