You will form four-person project teams (three people in a few cases). I will facilitate some in-class discussions about project groupings, but you should explore ideas amongst yourselves as well. I want the teams to be balanced in terms of background and experience – some from computational media and the people thread, some from the information and other threads, and from outside CoC.

The idea of the project is to take the InfoVis knowledge that you are acquiring this semester and use in a new, creative effort. A real key to a successful project is to select a topic/data that people want to know more about, and that is of interest to your team.

There are many sources of data on the web – financial, social/demographic, economic.  Census Bureau, CDC, CIA, WHO, UN, NBA, FAA, Many Eyes. This semester I am encouraging focus on health-related data, and CDC has a LOT of data. It is important that you choose data that is already in a usable form, such as CSV, that is easily imported into your program.  Else you will spend time on data formatting etc. rather than on information visualization!!!

No matter what topic/data you choose, I am expecting a high-quality project. In particular, I’m seeking creative projects showcasing interesting ideas. A stellar project consists of an implementation of a (potentially new)  visualization design with multiple views of the data and good interaction, designed to allow users to answer interesting questions and gain insights. But note that I am explicitly NOT expecting user testing and evaluation.

D3 is the preferred software development tool – we have taught it in class, and it is becoming the de facto standard for InfoVis programming. You will need our OK to use anything in place of d3.

If you slack off in sharing the workload of the project, you will receive a lower grade than your partners. Because the project counts 35%, slacking off is not a good idea.

There are six project milestones. First, you must form your team and settle on a topic. Second, you will submit a detailed design summary about halfway through the term. Third, you will make a final presentation about your project at the end of the semester. Finally, the software system you build will be delivered, along with a short write-up and 5 to 6 minute video demonstrating the project in use.

All deliverables are via hard copy in class AND on T-Square Wiki unless otherwise indicated.

Milestones (see schedule for due dates):

    • Milestone 1 – Team name, member names, one sentence topic. Populate your T-Square Wiki project page with this information. No hard copy.

    • Milestone 2 – Initial project description. One page listing project members and topic/data to be addressed. Also who is filling the following team roles: 1) Team Leader; 2) Keeper of “to do” list; 3) Convener of meetings; 4) Mid-way progress report integrator (everyone contributes, one person integrates); 5) PPt presentation integrator (everyone contributes, one person integrates); 6) Final report integrator (everyone contributes, one person integrates); 7) video creator. Add this information to your project info on T-Square, as a new page that is linked to from your Milestone 1 information. No hard copy.

    • Milestone 3 – A max two page elaboration on your initial project description, to include: characterization of your target user (lay person, political analyst, sports junkie, movie executive, etc.); 3 or 4 questions that users of your system should be able to investigate/answer; your data source and format of the data (spread sheet, SQL data base, etc.); text description of the at least two different InfoVizes you will have; and a listing of interaction methods you expect to implement. Post on Wiki as a new page off of your project listing, and bring hard-copy to class.

    • Milestone 4 – Progress report. Start with your two-page milestone 3 report, updated if anything has changed.  Report includes paper sketches of the information visualizations you expect to provide and listing of the interaction methods you expect to implement. What software you will be using, discussion of how the data will be organized and accessed, and a description of how your team is dividing up programming, report writing, and video creation responsibilities for carrying out the project. The new material should be about 5 pages, and MUST include at least two annotated screen sketches (paper/pencil OK). Hard copy submission only (2 copies please) in class.

    • Milestone 5 – Meet with a TA at a mutually convenient time to talk about your project, discuss problems and progress.  Goal is to make sure you are on the right track.

    • Milestone 6 – Demonstrate (partially) working system to a TA.  We’ll provide feedback to help you improve your system prior to your project presentation and final report.

    • Milestone 7 – Final executable software is due along with a final report describing the system.  Upload the software package and final PDF report to T-Square. See below for additional details.

    • Milestone 8 – Project presentations. Create a 5 to 6 minute YouTube narrated video demonstrating your project. Optionally, include your names at the video’s start. In the video, first give a general introduction to your system and then work through answering four questions that you posed in your project plan. Make sure to include who your audience is, what the goals are, and how your project addresses those goals.  On the day of the presentation, you’ll show the video to everyone and answer questions about the project and your design decisions.

The Milestone 7 final report should include:

  1. Description of your user, and planned interaction methods – from milestone 3.
  2. Questions your users should be able to answer by using your project – from milestone 3.
  3. Source of data.
  4. Four screen shots; also explain what is going on. A good way to do this is by having leaders going from different elements on the screen shot to pieces of text surrounding the screen shot. (You can do this easily on PPt.)
  5. InfoVis toolkit/libraries you used, and your evaluation of how useful it is. This will mostly be about d3, but you might have pulled in some other libraries to help with mapping, for instance.  Are there changes to d3 that would make it more useful?  What concepts/ideas in  d3 were particularly hard to get your arms around?
  6. Who did what, and what you learned as a group about project teamwork.
  7. For each code module, indicate how much (%%) you wrote vs. how much you were able to import. By modules, I mean for example the code to create an individual visualization; the code to set up filtering, the code to set up the overall screen organization, the code to get your data into the format needed for d3, etc. For each module, include a few sentences describing what you did.

Parts 1-3 should not be more than 3 pages total.  For part 4, do one screen shot and it’s description per page; that’s 4 pages.  Parts 5-7 are no more than a page each.  So max 10 pages, most likely no less than 8. Double space, 12 point type, standard margins.

For this Milestone, turn in:

  • Your video’s YouTube URL
  • Milestone 7 final PDF report.

Grading: We will evaluate the overall quality of your project, including all milestones and components. A grading sheet is at the end of this syllabus.

Great projects will typically have 1000+ lines of code.  Some of the code will be new, some  heavily-modified, some from libraries on the web.  I would expect that several hundreds of lines of code are new. Functionality of great projects typically includes two or more simultaneous views of data with linking between the views, details on demand, and some means of selecting which aspects of the data set are displayed (maybe dynamic queries). Whatever interactions you provide should support users in answering questions about the data!

Team Project Grading Criteria
CS4460 Information Visualization

Project is 35% of your course grade
Grading on a 35-point scale

Project Name:                                                Grade ___/35

Project Team:

___/1 Point: Was the mid-way progress report submitted and provide the requested information?
___/5 Points: Is the visualization an effective representation of the data such that it can support answering your analytical questions about the data?
___/3 Points: Aesthetics of the InfoVis – colors, layout, fonts, etc.
___/9 Points: Overall scope/ambition of the working project:

  • Multiple simultaneous views of data (on screen at same time).
  • Quality and number of interactions (such as details on demand, linking/brushing, animation, semantic zoom, fish-eye views, dynamic queries, etc.). I don’t expect you to do all of these, but would expect DoD plus at least two others.
  • Complexity of the data set (a 5 variable, 20 case data set is not nearly as challenging as 10 variables with 1000 or more cases).

___/9 Points: Did your team do more than copy and paste imported code to complete the project? You are encouraged to copy and paste some code and to use libraries, but I expect your team to be “adding value” by writing and substantially modifying a non-trivial amount of code on your own. Projects that have an appropriate scope/ambition typically involve well over a thousand lines of code.
___/4 Points: Was your video presentation an effective discussion and portrayal of the project?

  • ___/1 Start with big picture overview of what your data is about
  • ___/3 Shows how at least three questions can be answered

___/4 Points: Does your written report follow the guidelines and help the reader understand your overall goals and how your system achieves those goals?

  • ___/0.1 Goals of project, as in the midterm progress report but possibly revised (if so, indicate revisions in italics).
  • ___/0.7 Examples of questions your users should be able to answer by using your project, as in the midterm progress report but possibly revised (if so, indicate revisions with italics).
  • ___/0.1 Source of the data.
  • ___/0.5 Four screen shots with captions explaining what is going on.
  • ___/0.4 InfoVis toolkit you used, and your evaluation of how useful it is.
  • ___/0.2 Who did what, and what you learned as a group about project team work.
  • ___/2.0 Commented source code, including highlighting that indicate what code was imported and used as is, what code was imported and modified, what code was written mostly or completely from scratch.

CS 4460 Project Team Self and Group Evaluation

Each project member answers these questions via an on-line survey – not on this form – you will receive the URL to use

Your name:                                                Project name:

The goal is to understand your role in the group project, and the role of others.  For each question, your self-evaluation is first, then your evaluation of each of your partners.  Enter your partners’ names in the places provided.

For each question, after each name circle whichever number applies, using this scale:

1 – way below average
2 – below average
3- average
4 – above average
5- way above average

Effort:  How would you rate the relative effort (that is, time commitment) of each team member:

My effort          1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5

Communications:  How would you rate the communications of each team member (responding/initiating email, coming to meetings, contributing to meetings)?

My effort          1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5

Flexibility/teamwork:  How would you rate each team member on their willingness to pitch in and do whatever needed to be done (as opposed to “I can only do this”)?

My effort          1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5
<>  1    2    3    4    5

Specific tasks you carried out on the project:

Other comments:


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