Social Visualization
Spring 2016

Karrie Karahalios
TR  12:30-1:45pm
Siebel Center, Room 0216
Office Hours:  Wednesday 4:15-5  in 3110 SC

John Lee <>
Office Hours:  Tuesday 10-11 in 1125 SC

Hidy Kong  <>
Office Hours: Thursday 10-11 in 3107 SC


Social Visualization -  visualization of social data for social purposes.  By social data we mean the traces that people leave as they go about their daily routine.  These data may come from different sources such as the online world (i.e. email, IM logs, blogs, etc.)  and the physical world (i.e. captured through sensors such as voice by microphone, movement and location data by camera, gps, ubisense device, etc.) Visualizations of these kinds of data can be used for increasing awareness of one's social environment and for highlighting cues and patterns implicit in communication. 

This class explores visualizing social interaction in networked spaces.  We emphasize visualizing the network identity of the person over compilations of online data that characterize information visualization.

We begin by exploring visualization of communication patterns in existing networked communication systems such as email, usenet, and instant messaging systems.  We discuss  social network theory and visualizations and explore how to move beyond the existing visualization techniques.  As the class progresses, we will look to address social needs in interaction and create new communication tools that use visualization to augment interaction.

Coursework includes reading and critiquing papers and designing and implementing interactive visualizations (in java, processing, flash, or flex).  There are in-class critiques and a final project. Students are required to create interactive social visualizations on a biweekly basis, approximately.  The first week has readings about a topic; the following week involves programming the visualization. 

The course stresses development in java.  We will be supporting the use of Eclipse ( development environment.  This runs on many platforms. We recommend downloading and familiarizing yourself with this package before the course begins.

Example projects include visualizing:

Upon completion of this course, students will have an up-to-date understanding of the fields of social visualization and social computing.


There are no required texts for this course.  There are additional recommended texts that will be available on reserve at the library.
These are:

1.  Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte
2.  Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward R. Tufte
3.  The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
4.  The Elements of Typographic Style by Bringhurst
5.  Visualizing Data by William S. Cleveland
6.  Design for Information by Isabel Meirelles
7.  Information Visualization: Perception for Design by Colin Ware
8.  The Social Machine by Judith Donath


10% class participation (missed classes should be cleared with instructor, 2 missed classes result in a lower letter grade)

10% class critiques

50% series of term projects

30% final project

Academic Integrity
For more information, please review the University Student Conduct Code for Academic Integrity.