Master of Arts
in Interaction Design

Master in Interaction Design SUPSI Adventures in data visualization 2014


Fabio Franchino,
16 – 19 July 2014


“The purpose of visualization is insight, not pictures” Ben Shneiderman (1999). Data is everywhere. People and objects generate data constantly. Nowadays we are not just data consumers, but we produce a reasonable amount of new and raw information through the interaction with technological devices and the web. Working with this raw data can be difficult because they are not made for providing meaningful information. ‘Data Visualization’ helps to build significant representations of quantitative and relational information. The workshop is an exploration about the visualization techniques for communicating, delighting and telling something interesting. It focuses on the world of abstract information with the aim to discover meaningful and relevant messages.


With the help of the popular javascript library d3.js, participants will learn how to transform an opaque dataset into a structured representation which is the first step in order to get the sense of a data collection. They will learn the meaning of the different visual representation models, gathering the values as well as the drawbacks. The workshop will be project driven, thus participants will learn how to sketch, design and implement a data visualization project, starting from the analysis to the final representation, exploiting the nature of the web platform that allows fast iterations on prototypes.

Workshop topics

Wednesday 14.00 – 18.00
– Principles of Data Visualization
– Tools and paradigms to represent dataset
– The importance of the data structure
– Visual perception principles
– The web platform as rapid prototyping platform

Thursday 9.30 – 17.30
– Rapid prototyping as learning tool
– D3.js library introduction
– Find and prepare datasets
– Representation step by step
– Benefits of interactivity
– Animation techniques
– Preliminary visualization prototype

Friday 9.30 – 17.30
– Concept and design phase
– Sketching phase using d3.js
– Project implementation (aided)

Saturday 9.30 – 17.30
– Project refinements (aided)
– Final considerations on final results
– Further possible evolutions


The workshop is addressed to designer, programmers, amateurs and people interested in the data visualization field and in fast prototyping through the Web Platform.


No specific skills are required, nevertheless a basic understanding on the web platform (HTML, CSS, SVG) is very welcome. Furthermore, a visual and creative exploration inclination is also welcome.


Visit the flickr album.