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Engaging Audiences with Data Visualization

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Kirsten K.


Speaker: Scott Murray

Edward Tufte, Stephen Few, and others espouse graphical purity and simplicity when visualizing data. Yet while “pure” visualizations may function successfully for experts, they are not necessarily useful for communicating meaning to lay audiences. Engaging non-expert audiences is essential to communicating the value of one’s data and research. Fortunately, we can draw on principles and practices for engagement from the fields of graphic design, interaction design, and (data) journalism. I propose a framework of three avenues of engagement: aesthetic, narrative, and interactive.

Scott Murray is a code artist who writes software to create data visualizations and other interactive phenomena. His work incorporates elements of interaction design, systems design, and generative art. Scott is an Assistant Professor of Design at the University of San Francisco, a contributor to Processing, and author of “Interactive Data Visualization for the Web: An Introduction to Designing with D3.” Scott earned an A.B. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. from the Dynamic Media Institute at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work can be seen at (

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