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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christian Marc Schmidt
ART 479
Seattle Campus

Interaction Design

Exploration of design issues unique to user-centered interaction in digital media. Explore a range of formal and conceptual issues including user interface, organization, narrative, motion, time, and sound. Prerequisite: ART 478.

Class description

This course is an introduction to the visualization of dynamic data. Unlike static information graphics, visualizations of dynamic data are designed to change as the data changes. With the amount of content we now create and consume, there is a greater need for interpretation. A powerful and expressive communication device, dynamic data visualization can become a medium for analysis, discovery, critique and storytelling.

While still primarily used by specialized audiences to gain insight into complex datasets such as the human genome or the stock market, data visualization for general audiences is becoming more pervasive. Organizations like The New York Times, The Guardian, and GE have started using visualizations to explain complex issues, such as the Iraq conflict and the breakdown of Obamaís spending budget. However, most contemporary data visualizations are reflective in terms of how they engage with their content and the viewer. They are designed to create awareness and support analysis, rather than as tools to better our lives. In this course, we will explore how the interpretation of dynamic data can become a catalyst for behavioral change.

We will create dynamic visualizations using the programming language Processing. This will include understanding how to gather and parse data, to its visual representation and interactivity. As described on its website:

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions. Initially developed to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context, Processing also has evolved into a tool for generating finished professional work. Today, there are tens of thousands of students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists who use Processing for learning, prototyping, and production.

This course is designed for the rank beginneróno previous programming experience is required.

Student learning goals

Students will learn how to use Processing to create dynamic data visualizations.

Students will learn what makes an effective (and ineffective) dynamic data visualization.

Students will learn how to critique and discuss dynamic data visualization.

General method of instruction

Workshop and studio

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Christian Marc Schmidt
Date: 01/03/2012