IS U570 Human Computer Interaction -- Fall 2004 - Project #2 Information Visualization
Professor Futrelle -
College of Computer and Information Sciences, Northeastern U., Boston, MA
Version of 4 December 2004
This is about Project #2 -- Information Visualization.
The final version or Project #2 is due by 11:59pm, Wednesday, Dec. 8th.
Most of you have been doing good and interesting work. Keep up the good work!
Pay particular attention to the final guidelines below, in these last few days of
preparing your project handin.
Below is a checklist of points for your final Project #2 handin.
- Be sure that you make it quite clear what each student
contributed to the project. The best way to do this might
be to produce three documents, the report plus one separate
document for each member of the team, three all together.
- Make your handin available to Blind (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and me in a useful form.
A website with integrated text and graphics is an excellent format.
A zipped file of sources, class files, javadoc, your report, and figures
is strongly preferred over a collection separate files,
whether emailed of online.
Filenames should always include at least one student's name.
The worst example of a filename would be "Report". We receive
hundreds of files each semester -- don't confuse the situation.
- If you are handing in your project in hardcopy form, you will
have to hand it in earlier, by 5pm, Wednesday, Dec. 8th, to
Mr. Blind's office, 460WVH or mine, 450WVH. The one exception
is your hand-annotated paper, which can be handed in as late as
the next day, Thursday,
between 11am and 5pm at the same locations.
- Make sure that your java code will execute on the College
Solaris system. That is the system on which we do the final
evaluation of your project. This means that it must not be
written or compiled using any J2SE 5 specific functionality
(Java 1.5). The College machines currently support java build 1.4.1_02a-b01.
- Figures are required, typically screenshots,
and should be discussed, not just tossed in unexplained.
If they're in a web page (preferred) follow them with a caption.
This is no different from our textbook, which numbers every figure
and includes a caption for each. If you include figures as separate files
in your zipped handin or as separate hardcopies,
each must be discussed in your report. For myself, I've occasionally
juxtaposed some caption text adjacent to a window of interest and
made a screenshot of the two together. That works too.
- You are required, as I've explained in email and class,
to hand in a hardcopy of one or two papers that you have found
related to your project. The hardcopies should have handwritten notes
by you on them, not just highlighting. This is a requirement to assure
us that you have actually sat with the papers and actively interacted
with them (another form of Human Interaction with information, if you will).
- Your java sources code should be commented, javadoc preferred.
Each of the project members should do some of the writing of the comments.
- Everything you hand in, including your java sources, should include full
information on the course name, date, project #, your names, a project title,
and any other information that you feel will clearly describe the work.
- When you write, choose the audience you are writing for. As I've said
in the past, a good target reader for your project would be another CCIS
student, but not one who has taken an HCI class. This will guide you
in your level of explanation. For example, don't use terminology and
especially acronyms, that would not be known to such a person -- explain
what they are, or skip the acronyms. References to the paper(s)
you have found or to specific sections or pages or figures in the textbook
are fine too, as long as their appropriateness is explained. That is,
it's OK to imagine that your reader has access to our textbook and your papers.
Doing this will make it clear to Blind and myself that you're paying attention
to the principles and examples in the textbook and your papers,
not just doing things off the top of your head.
General information about Information Visualization
Three of the most important uses of screen-based systems for human
viewing and interaction are:
- Applications, such as word processors.
- Form fill-in systems for information gathering, ordering, etc.
- Information visualization -- designing GUIs that allow a
user to make sense of complex data by presenting it visually,
and typically, allowing the user to change the view of
the data to see different aspects of it.
This last topic, information visualization, will be the main thrust of
your second and final project of the semester.
The simplest way to describe this topic is that it typically involves
data which is either to voluminous or difficult to comprehend using
simple presentations. This means that in your project, you'll need
to find a collection or collections of information to present in your
project. It is not too difficult to do this on the web. Everything
pictures of kittens (142,000 via google), to trade statistics
(http://http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/www/) are out there.
Both these last topics
are examples that can be organized well and presented visually
in order to make them more understandable than in their simple
and unadorned form.
Information Visualization, or "InfoVis" as we'll call it for shorthand,
is covered in Sec. 14.5 of your textbook, through to the end of Chap. 14.
In addition, there are many sources of papers on the topic.
Searching the NU library for the keyword "information visualization"
returns 17 hits - some books, some proceedings.
Here is a page I've created
that has a number of links to sites
And here is another page,
with additional links
Your task will be two-fold:
- Track down one or more recent papers on an approach to InfoVis
that you'd like to pursue for your project (details linked to below).
- Design and create a Java application to implement your project,
along with a thorough discussion of your design, the background and design decisions
that led up to it, and an evaluation of your system by some other person(s).
Your first first report, due by 11:59pm Wed. Nov. 17th should include at least
one paper as well as a sketch of your initial design along with some description
of the software design needed to bring your application to life.
A hardcopy of the paper can be handed in to Prof. Futrelle in class on Friday
the 19th, with a note attached to it describing how you tracked it down
(and with your name, date, etc.).
Finding papers on Information Visualization
Suggestions on how to find papers are on this page.
Go to ISU570 home page.
or RPF's Teaching Gateway or