Sheelagh Carpendale - Sketching Data


Data visualization has been defined as ‘the use of computer supported, interactive, visual representations of abstract data to amplify cognition’ [2]. Data visualization draws upon a variety of fields including computer science, visual perception, design and communication theory to visually and interactively represent data so that it is explorable and discoverable. We will take a hands-on, data driven approach to the process of visually representing data. In particular, we will make active use of visual variables [1] and draw upon principles from externalization and sketch-based design [3] to explore the challenges and possibilities of data visualization.


1. Bertin, Jacques. Semiology of graphics: diagrams, networks, maps. University of Wisconsin Press, Pub date: 1983. (Readings: pages 2 to 13 and 42 to 97).
2. Card, Stuart, Mackinlay, Jock, and Shneiderman, Ben. Chapter 1, Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think. Morgan Kaufmann 1999.
3. Greenberg, Saul, Carpendale, Sheelagh, Marquardt, Nicolai, and Buxton, Bill. Sketching user experiences: The workbook. Elsevier, 2011.


Sheelagh Carpendale is a Full Professor at Simon Fraser University in the School of Computing Science. She holds the NSERC/AITF/SMART Industrial Research Chair in Interactive Technologies. Her leadership role in the international data visualization research community has been repeatedly confirmed through many awards including the IEEE Visualization Career Award and being inducted into both the IEEE Visualization Academy and the ACM CHI (Computer-Human-Interaction) Academy. Her other awards include the Canadian NSERC E.W.R. STEACIE Fellowship, a British BAFTA (equivalent to an Oscar) in Interactive Learning; the Alberta ASTech Award, the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Achievement Award. Her research focuses on information visualization, interaction design, and qualitative empirical research. By studying how people interact with information both in work and social settings, she works towards designing more natural, accessible and understandable interactive visual representations of data. She combines information visualization, visual analytics and human-computer interaction with innovative new interaction techniques to better support the everyday practices of people who are viewing, representing, and interacting with information.