This past week we talked about abstraction, and ~~you gave me some free consulting on my web page~~ we tried to learn more about graphic design.

This week, we’ll connect the abstractions to visualizations – by discussing encodings (the mappings from data to “visual variables”). To start, we’ll just think about the mappings and how these lead to designs – and then we’ll move on to talking about the perceptual issues in choosing the encodings.

This week, we’ll also start with our first “Design Challenge” where you’ll be able to try out all the stuff you learned and make some visualizations. This will be the first of 3 design challenges. It will play out over the weeks before Spring Break (a little more slowly than future ones which will each be 3 weeks).

- Monday, February 20th – Lecture on Encodings. Since it’s Monday, you know that there’s a reading due (Reading 6:Encodings) for class, and an initial posting to the discussion (Discussion 6: Encodings).
- Wednesday, February 22nd – We’ll have a “hands-on” demo where we’ll show off how Excel (yes, Excel!) can be used for some of the kinds of data analysis/visualization you may want to do for the Design Challenge. We’ll also do some in-class exercises involving encodings and redesigning encodings.
- Friday, February 24th – We’ll have an optional, in-class discussion about the Design Challenge. This will be time for you to bring your own data set (so we can decide as a group whether it’s a good one to use), but we can also talk about the ones we provided, and maybe talk about tools a little bit. We won’t have anything planned, but will be in class to discuss what people want to talk about.

And Seek and Find 6 is due. And, if you want to be on time, all the additional postings for Discussion 6 are due (but hopefully, you’ve done them earlier so that others can discuss).

So for this week…

- Reading 6 – Encodings – part is due before class Monday, part is due Wednesday
- Discussion 6 – Encodings – initial posting is due on Monday, all required postings due on Friday (total of 3 required + 2 responses)
- Seek and Find 6 – Encodings – is due on Friday
- You should at least look at Design Challenge 1, since it will be due soon enough.