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VisWeek Tutorials

Design Tutorials for VisWeek 2009

As one of the Tutorials Chairs at this year's VisWeek (which is the combination of the IEEE Vis and InfoVis conferences, and the VAST symposium), I want to make you aware of the upcoming deadline for submitting tutorial proposals: April 28. We are looking for a wide variety of ideas, but I want to especially encourage the submission of tutorials on design for visualization. VisWeek will take place October 10–16 in Atlantic City, NJ.

This is in continuation of, and response to, last year's excellent workshop on Design, Vision, and Visualization. There was a lot of interest from attendees beyond the small circle of workshop participants (who had submitted images and descriptions of problems). We came up with a list of interesting questions there that could clearly use some more discussion.

I don't want to give too much of a roadmap here what a design tutorial for visualization should look like, but here are a few ideas. One thing that probably should be covered is how designers work. There are a lot of misconceptions about this, and I think it will be much easier to come to a common understanding once that has been clarified. In addition, there should be discussion of many of the things designers work with: type, grids, color, etc. And there certainly should be connections: How can we use these things in visualization? Why should we care?

A difficult question is what level to target. While I don't think that a lot of people in visualization would consider themselves designers, there clearly is a lot of interest in visual things. I would still suggest to target a beginner-to-intermediate audience, and start with the basics. But you will be able to move up to more advanced topics quite quickly. Despite their name, tutorials do not need to explain everything in perfect detail (IMHO). They need to provide basics and show the way, but most of us are then able to figure things out from there.

Two pages I came across today might help explain the gap between technical visualization folks and designers: Why Programmers Suck at Picking Colors and Why Programmers Suck at CSS Design. These are not specific to visualization, but they do discuss a lot of issues I would also expect to find among visualization reseachers.

Tutorials can be half-day or full-day, and usually involve several speakers. Tutorial speakers receive free registrations for VisWeek, and there is also a small honorarium. If you have not submitted to VisWeek before, you should get familiar with the SRM submission system used well before the deadline. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

Posted by Robert Kosara on April 19, 2009.