DataVis 2020

Course website Data Visualization 2020 course at University of Edinburgh. Check here for updates and course materials. Learn will be used for assignments only.


Vis Guidelines

Course organizer: Dr. Benjamin Bach
Lecture:Mondays 10-11, 7 George Sq, S.1


Assignment 1: 26. February 2020, 4pm UK time
Assignment 2: 3. April 2020, updated to 10. April, updated to 14. April , 4pm UK time


The course requires handing in two assignments, each counting 50% towards the final mark. Failing to hand in an assignment at the due date, will lead to penalty points.

Assignments will be marked using the Unversity’s Common Marking Scheme 1.

Keep any descriptions as brief as possible. Use bullet lists wherever possible.

Make sure that you submit any written assignments using your exam number only, and that you state the number of words in your assignment. Your exam number is the number that starts with B on your student card.

Table of contents, figure captions, table captions, and references do not count towards your total number of words.

Assignment 1

This assignment will be introduced and explained in week 3.


Scope: Individually (one submission per student, through Learn)

Weight towards course grade: 50%

Due date: Wednesday 26. February 2020, 4pm UK time

Expected time investment: 15h

Descripion: Analyze problems with a set of visualizations and propose improvements. 

  1. Find two different visualizations (on the internet, in newspapers, TV, etc.) like those in the tutorial. Different means, e.g., a line chart, a network, a map, etc.
    • Explain who made the visualizations and in which context they were shown (Text book, Twitter, News, …)
    • make sure to inlude the exact link to the visualization.
  2. For each visualization, describe three faults and why they are problematic.
    • Give the fault a name
    • explain possible implications and misinterpretations.
    • Describe possible improvements for each fault.
    • Make sure to report different faults for each visualiztion, i.e., in total you should report six faults.
  3. For each of the two visualization,
    • Create one visualization that solves the identified faults (i.e., two visualizations in total).
    • Make sure to avoid any of the common faults discussed in class and the tutorials.
    • Create the final visualization either digitally (e.g., using any of the tools discussed in class) or by sketching using pen and paper.
    • For each solution you propose, argue how you have fixed a fault from the original visualization.
    • Make sure the message is the same as in the original visualization.

Handing in:

Marking scheme:

Task Max-points
Two Visualizations found 4
Faults identified 24
Faults explained 24
Faults fixed 24
Fixes explained 24
Extra points: Creativity of proposed visualization(s) 4
Total: 100

Points will be removed if plagiarism among students is found.

Assignment 2

Scope: In groups of 3 students (one submission per group, through Learn)

Weight towards course grade: 50%

Due date: Friday 3. April 2020, 4pm UK time.

Expected time investment: 15h

Description: Students work in groups of 3 students to analyze, design, and implement a visualization piece. This can include interactive web visualizations, data comics, or an infographic (see below).

1. Challenge description: Describe a challenge around the data (up to 500 words, use bullet points where possible). A challenge includes:

How do these issues influence your design choices?

2. Visualization exploration: explore visualization designs for your data and explain your rationale (200 words per visualization = 600 words, use bullet points where possible)

3. Final design: present a final design and explain your design rationale for everything that is not related to the visualization design itself as this has been stated in 2 (e.g., textual annotations, title, abstract, layout, explanations, etc). just above (up to 500 words, use bullet points where possible). This can be on of the following three formats:

Make sure you follow the instructions / exercises in tutorial 4. In your story mention:

4. Feedback report and reflection (up to __500 words): For your final design,

5. Visualiztion tool critique: Pick two visualization tools (does not inlude SVG tools!), e.g., from the ones discussed in class, and discuss (up to 1000 words):

Use bullet points wherever possible.

For Assignment 2, hand in as a single PDF with either

Marking scheme:

Task Max-points
Challenge description 20
Visualization exploration 20
Final design 30
Design feedback 10
Tool critique 20
Extra points: Creativity of proposed visualization(s) 4
Total: 100