The Week in Vis 14 (Mon, Dec 2 – Fri, Dec 6): Presentations

by Mike Gleicher on November 30, 2019

Week in Vis 14 Mon, Dec 2-Fri, Dec 6

On Monday, I’ll give a presentation about how to give presentations. Historically, this has been me ranting – I’ll try to be a bit more organized this year. Student have told me this is useful – since giving presentations is something everyone has to do, but you might not get much “training” in. I’ll probably also talk a little bit about Graphic Design – we aren’t going to cover the topic this year, but I feel like I should say something about it.

On Wednesday, we’ll do an ICE to get you thinking about design a bit more.

The readings this week are intentionally light. I know you’re focused on DC3. Not much to turn in, but the end of the semester is coming along fast…

Readings for the Week

The “readings” for this week are to watch 2 videos, and to look over my notes on presentations. The notes are likely redundant with what I’ll present in class, but they have some resources and details. But make sure to watch the videos.

Before reading my notes, here are some caveats (note: this is taken from the 2012 class):

  • The goals and standard for presentation really vary across venue/discipline. What we value in computer science (in particular the areas I work in) are quite different than in other disciplines. It’s hard for me to discuss this without value judgement (since I am bred to believe in the “CS way”), but I also plead ignorance to the practices in other area. I’d like to use this as a chance to learn about others.
  • I don’t consider myself to be a great presenter. Do as I say, not as I do. The upside of this, is that it means I think about how to be better at it.
  • A lecture is not the same as a talk, so what you see in class is quite different than what you would see in one of my talks.
  • Even within a particular style/venue/type of talk, there is a wide range of opinions on what is good talk, what the goals should be, …
  • The “right answer” depends not only on the situation, but on the person. But that will be one of the biggest lessons I hope you get. I may not speak to your specific case, but hopefully, you can see how the general lessons apply.
  • As you might guess, I have strong opinions. But you don’t have to guess at what they are, since I’ve written them down.

Given that…

My real goal is to get you to think about what might make for a good presentation, and to form your own strong opinions – even if they are different than mine.

Given that, read my posting about presentations. Yes, it’s from a 2011 class – but I think if I were updating it, it wouldn’t be much different.

Video Presentations

Hans Rosling is a famous presenter – talking about social issues around the world in venues like TED, etc. He was famous for presenting data in a compelling way to make his points for a broad audience. Sadly, he died this year. But his influence is significant (both on presentating data and on the world in general).

If you haven’t seen a Rosling talk, you need to experience one. If you have seen one, you probably won’t mind watching another.

There are lots of videos of rosling presentations – here’s one I have handy, or here’s another one.

The actual point of Rosling is not his visualizations (he does use standard visualization effectively – often with animation), but rather as a way to talk about presentations.


Rather than read about animation, I’ll let you watch a (reasonably old video) about it’s role in visualization.

I’ll kill two birds with one stone here: I want you to think about the role of animations in visualization, and how to present research results in video form. So, I’ll have you watch a research video about animation in visualization!

You don’t have to read the paper, but you do have to watch the video:

  • Heer, Jeffrey, and George Robertson. “Animated Transitions in Statistical Data Graphics.” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 13, no. 6 (January 2007): 1240–47. doi:10.1109/TVCG.2007.70539. (web page with video)

Some of the ideas in the video have been questioned in perceptual studies, but I think the basic concepts are still worthwhile.

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