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188.961 From Design to Software 2

2020S, PR, 4.0h, 6.0EC


  • Semester hours: 4.0
  • Credits: 6.0
  • Type: PR Project

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course, students are able to...

  • analyze problems in the field of visualization
  • design effective visualization concepts for their solution
  • implement these visualization concepts with state-of-the-art visualization libraries
  • design appropriate evaluations for these visualization solutions

Subject of course

During this course, students will be introduced to the iterative process of human-centered visualization design that includes user requirements and tasks analysis, visualization design, implementation, and evaluation. This design cycle will be trained in practice by carrying out a software project.

Due to the close interconnection of visualization and human-computer interaction (HCI), visualization software should incorporate human-centered principles of interaction and usability in its design and implementation.

Visualization can be defined as "the use of computer-supported, interactive, visual representation of abstract data to amplify cognition." [Card et al., 1999]. The aim of visualization is to aid people in making complex information structures more comprehensible, facilitate new insights, and enable knowledge discovery. In contrast to other subfields, such as Scientific Visualization (SciVis) that are mainly concerned with the presentation of data that has some physical or geometric correspondence, Information Visualization (InfoVis) focuses on abstract data and information where a natural mapping to the physical world may not exist (i.e. Databases, Networks, Documents, Time, Hierarchies).

"Human¿computer Interaction (HCI) involves the study, planning, and design of the interaction between people (users) and computers. It is often regarded as the intersection of computer science, behavioral sciences, design and several other fields of study." [Wikipedia, 2012]. A main aim of HCI research is to improve the interaction between users and computers with the aim of making it more user-friendly and better adapted to the needs of the users.

To be able to develop effective, efficient, and appropriate visualization environments that benefit from the capabilities and functionalities of the human visual system (e.g., visual perception and other cognitive abilities), these two areas need to be combined.


[Card et al., 1999] Card, S.K., MacKinlay, J.D., Shneiderman, B. (eds.): Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, CA (1999)

[Kerren et al., 2007] Kerren, A., Ebert, A. and Meyer J. (Eds.): Human-centered Visualization Environments, volume 4417 of LNCS Tutorial, Springer, 2007

[Wikipedia, 2012] Wikipedia: Human-Computer Interaction, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-computer interaction (2012)

Teaching methods

In regular meetings with the supervisor (usually every one to two weeks), the individual steps of the software project are discussed. This includes

  • requirement specification
  • rough design
  • detailed design
  • implementation details
  • test scenarios
  • derivation of results
  • project documentation
  • final presentation and discussion of the results

Mode of examination


Additional information

TUWEL course registration is mandatory: https://tuwel.tuwien.ac.at/user/index.php?id=21259



Examination modalities

  • Implementation and quality of the software project
  • Presentation of the software project
  • Discussion and defence of the chosen approach

Course registration

Not necessary


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No lecture notes are available.



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