Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Indian (Tamil Nadu)

You are here

DESIGN 384 A: Information Visualization For Interaction Designers

We look forward to safely returning to in-person instruction and activities this autumn quarter. Current and prospective students please visit our COVID-19 Updates pages.
Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 5:20pm
* *
Jayme Yen
Jayme Yen

Syllabus Description:

Instructor: Jayme Yen (
Tue/Thu, 2:30 – 5:20 pm
Office hours: By appointment
Discord coffee chat: Mon, 5:30-6:30 pm   

Quick Links

Other links




This course surveys the principles and techniques for designing effective information visualizations. It looks at what data is (and what it isn’t), how it’s collected (and why that matters), and how data can be used to tell compelling stories. We will investigate information structures such as statistical graphs, maps, timelines, and diagrams. Emphasis will be placed on inventive ways to communicate complex, multifaceted ideas or subjects to a general audience — such as public health information during the pandemic or museum collections. The course combines studio projects, individual and group critiques, lectures, and readings. 


Learning Goals

The purpose of this class is to help students develop the skills to research and present quantitative and qualitative information to facilitate the understanding of complex subjects. Specifically, students will:

  • Identify, research, and assemble data, statistics, and information
  • Transform research into compelling, evidence-based visual storytelling
  • Evaluate effective and ineffective info visualizations in light of current research and best practices
  • Refine typographic and visual communication skills


Learning outcomes

  • Expand your understanding of the field of information visualization
  • Develop a critical eye for data collection and visualization  
  • Experiment with artistic and creative visualizations 



This class will be held synchronously over Zoom during our scheduled Tue/Thu class times. These sessions will be divided between lectures, critiques, and in-class activities. As a studio course students will also be able to make use of some class times to get work down.  

Lectures will be recorded and I will link recordings and transcripts to the class schedule. Some days will be divided into small group or 1:1 meetings (see Schedule) — on those dates you will sign up for a specific time slot and only be expected to show up for that time (breakout rooms will be made available for those who want to use the class Zoom to meet with others). 



We will be completing three projects this quarter, as well as readings and deconstructing other visualizations. 


Learning support 

I’m planning on inviting UW design alums to join us for group crits and 1:1 meetings (currently still sorting this schedule out). I may also invite guests with a particular expertise (AR/VR, 3D modeling, programming, etc) to be available as a resource for those interested in using those tools for Project 3.  


Final presentation

The final presentation takes place Tuesday, Mar 16, from 4:30–6:20 pm PDT. The structure of this is TBD, but will most likely be in the form of a ‘walk through’ or exhibition for Project 3.  


During the first week we will discuss community agreements that will help inform  how we work and learn together. This will also include protocols for the various tech platforms we’ll be using to communicate with one another during the quarter.

Here, though, are a few general expectations:

  • Attendance: Please arrive on time and prepared to engage in discussion, share work, use the time as a work session or to meet with classmates. Chronic lateness/absence or insufficient preparation may lower your participation grade.
  • If you’re experiencing regular and significant issues connecting to the Zoom, please let me know as soon as possible, so we can come up with a solution. 
  • Absences: Please inform me a day or two in advance if you must miss a class. You are responsible for catching up on any assignments and information you may have missed. 
  • Protect your work: Please routinely save and back up your work. You will not be excused for preventable loss of data.
  • Listening: Please give those who are presenting your active attention. 
  • Stay up-to-date: Check your UW email regularly for updates to the syllabus, schedule, or projects. Make a point of checking the schedule and syllabus frequently. (Turn on Canvas notifications, if you haven’t done so already.) 



We’ll use the following tools to conduct class, communicate, and share work. If you have any concerns or questions about any of these, please let me know. 

In general I can be reached by both email ( and via Discord. (Please expect some time for responses, especially late at night.) 



Class headquarters. Email announcements (1-2 a week), syllabus + schedule, assignment submissions, links to recordings, handouts + PDFs, resources, grades, etc. Please turn on Canvas notifications so you can be alerted to emails and any course changes.


All class sessions, plus office hours. 


Sharing work for group critiques, in-class activities (think of this as analogous to a wall in a physical classroom), exhibition space for final presentation. 


Casual reminders. Questions. Weekly coffee chats.

Atlas of Visualizations, links to tools and resources.

Google Docs

Sign up sheets for in-class meetings and office hours; community agreements.  


Grading is based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of work (includes consideration of effort put into the work) 
  • Design process (extent of exploration and experimentation) 
  • Individual contribution (active listening, participating in discussions/collaborative work, and engagement with giving and receiving critique) 


The final grade is composed of the following percentages: 

  • Project 1 (20%)
  • Project 2 (10%)
  • Project 3 stages (10%) 
  • Project 3 final project (35%)
  • Atlas of Visualizations (15%) 
  • Participation (10%)

Grading rubrics are included with every assignment to further clarify what I’m looking for.

A note on how Participation will be graded

You will be evaluated on how you ‘show up’ (figuratively speaking) to class — by staying engaged with what we’re working on, actively listening, participating in discussions and activities, being prepared with your work, and making incremental but steady progress throughout a project’s timeline. This grade will be based on my observations about your efforts throughout the term. I will be taking attendance, but participation is not based solely on in-class attendance. I encourage you to check in with me if you have questions about how you’re doing.


Participation rubric:

  • 91 and above: Exceeds expectations. High-level engagement in class. Student is prepared for every class and consistently engages in critique and discussion. Work demonstrates highly consistent degree of progress/improvement throughout design process. 
  • 90-85 pts: Meets expectations. Solid level of engagement in class. Student is prepared for most classes and is engaged in most critique and discussion. Work demonstrates somewhat consistent progress/improvement throughout design process. 
  • 85-80 pts: Needs improvement. Somewhat inconsistent level of engagement with class. Student only somewhat prepared for classes and does not regularly engage with critique and discussion. Work demonstrates inconsistent progress/improvement throughout design process. 
  • 79 and below: Unsatisfactory engagement with class. Student unprepared for most classes and does not engage with critique and discussion. Work demonstrates poor progress/improvement throughout design process.


4.0 Scale 

The following criteria is used when determining grades:

  • A 3.8–4.0 is given to a student who has exhibited the highest possible performance in all aspects of the course—final projects, the design process and participation are excellent. This student independently seeks out additional information on design and is highly committed/passionate about their work.
  • A 3.4–3.7 is given to a student who exhibits superior performance in all aspects of the course—the final projects, design process, and participation are uniformly of high quality. This student has a thorough understanding of all concepts presented, and is motivated to improve and succeed.
  • A 2.9–3.3 is given to a student who has good performance in most aspects of the course. This student follows a thorough design process, has good design work, and consistent participation that reflects a clear understanding of almost all concepts being presented.
  • A 2.5–2.8 is given to a student who has fair performance in the course. The final work is adequate, with a design process that reflects the minimum needed to complete assignments. Participation and motivation are moderate.
  • A 0.0–2.4 is given to a student with poor performance in the course. Projects are incorrectly prepared, incomplete or missing. This student does not understand the majority of concepts presented and rarely participates in class. This student is not prepared for subsequent courses in design.


Note: All students are required to pass every design studio class with a minimum grade of 2.0. Receiving a grade below the 2.0 benchmark will result in a one-quarter probationary period. Continued failure to pass subsequent design studio courses with a minimum 2.0 grade will result in expulsion from the design major.

Changes to the Syllabus 

The syllabus and schedule are subject to revision as needed. These revisions will be reflected in Canvas, and you will be alerted to changes via Canvas announcements or email as soon as possible. Revisions might include things like: swapping out a reading, clarification on instructions, a special guest critic who said ‘yes’ at the last minute, or modifying critique dates and deadlines. Any revisions will either be towards maintaining or decreasing your workload, but not increasing it. 


Zoom recordings & Privacy 

This course is scheduled to run synchronously at the scheduled class time via Zoom. These Zoom class sessions will be recorded. The recording will capture the presenter’s audio, video, and computer screen. Student audio and video will be recorded if they share their computer audio and video during the recorded session. The recordings will only be accessible to students enrolled in the course to review materials. These recordings will not be shared with or accessible to the public. 

The University and Zoom have FERPA-compliant agreements in place to protect the security and privacy of UW Zoom accounts.

Students who do not wish to be recorded should:

  • Change their Zoom screen name to hide any personal identifying information like their name or UW Net ID; and
  • Not share their computer audio or video during their Zoom sessions


To see all school policies, please see this page on Canvas: 


Updated Jan 3, 2021


Catalog Description: 
Surveys information visualization approaches, techniques, and concepts for the design of interaction information systems, interactive instructions, and animated information graphics.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
September 16, 2021 - 3:29pm