Join the Creative Vizzing Workshop!

Please read the info below before joining. Workshops require commitment to help each other. This one is designed for minimal commitment, with opportunity to stretch it out over time. This workshop will take place from January through February - allowing plenty of time to submit and viz and submit / review feedback, and even share revisions.

This first workshop will be limited to 12 people, first come first serve (if there is enough interest, we may have multiple sessions simultaneously in the future). You don't need to make a new viz for the workshop, so don't worry about the time spent vizzing. It's recommended to spend at least 10 minutes for each participant, so roughly 2 hours providing feedback. You'll have one month to get this done, with plenty of reminders.

If you're interested, please use this form to sign up.

Questions? Reach out to @data_poetry on Twitter.

Creative workshops: artists helping other artists

While there are components of "correctness" to much of visualization (are you calculations correct?), many of our design choices have a subjective value. This includes things like art, iconography, typography, etc., but it also includes other choices: visualization type, clarity of insights, novelty and originality, and even which metrics we use.

The creative arts have a common format, commonly called workshops, for artists to help one another navigate the subjectivity of their trade, and to refine not only their technical skills (mastery of brush strokes, grammar, instrumentation, etc.), but also their voice and style. In these workshops, a small group of artists will gather to provide feedback on each other's work. Outside of more formal settings, these workshops don't idolize a single person's feedback; everyone has a voice, and the value of the feedback is determined simply by the quality of the feedback itself.

The Creative Vizzing Workshop is designed to mirror the creative workshop format, but modified to fit data visualization and for an online community. Each person will review all the visualizations and submit feedback. There will be a rubric for feedback, although the rubric is just to aid in ideas and organization. All feedback will be public, so that we can all learn from each critique.

How does it work?

Each participant will submit a viz - and it doesn't need to be a new visualization, so feel free to use something from one of the community projects. Because of the ease of accessibility, and to allow everyone to understand the technical capabilities (and constraints) of the tool, we'll use Tableau Public as our visualization tool.

While the rest of the technology format isn't yet decided, the links to each viz will be collected and available online. Then, each participant will collect and record their feedback to each visualization. Typically, this process takes around 10 - 15 minutes per viz (which is why we're limiting the class size to 12). This means that this should take, in total, around two hours. We'll spread this feedback out over a month, so feel free to split this up as you like.

You'll enter your feedback into an online form. Everyone will have access, so you can look over the feedback everyone is learning - which helps everyone improve both in the creation and critiquing of visualizations.

Depending on interest, we may have a webinar for in-person discussion - but this brings regional and lifestyle accessibility issues we'll need to consider.

What does feedback look like?

Generally speaking, workshop feedback is more successful when it leans positive. This isn't always possible, but since we're dealing with many subjective components, we're not looking at hard and fast rules. This means identifying what's working, and helping the creator to identify opportunities to "turn the volume up" on those things. Often, when we focus on what works, what doesn't work falls out. However, there will be times when we should address things that aren't working - especially in things like ethics, accessibility, and approach-ability.

We'll use the following rubric (with a strong nod toward Don Norman's levels of design), although the sign-up form will ask for other ideas:
  • Visceral: how do you feel looking at the viz? How engaging is the appearance of the viz? How are all the aesthetic choices working to support the overall theme and content?
  • Behavioral: how do you feel interacting with the viz? How easy is it to understand what you can and can't do? How effective do you feel the interactivity is? Note: "interactivity / using" here might include "reading", to allow for considerations such as organization and coherence. Not all visuals are meant to be interactive, so for the sake of this workshop reading may fall into visceral or behavioral, depending on how the text is used (discretion up to the person providing feedback).
  • Reflective: how do you feel thinking about the viz? Is the content interesting and engaging? Is there a narrative, and if so, do you feel that a story is adequately told? If it isn't a story, do the insights feel trustworthy? Did the viz evoke any emotions? How do the design choices support the content and themes?
  • Ethics, accessibility, and approachability: Are there potential ethical concerns that should be considered? Could this viz ever [unintentionally] harm or be used to harm an individual or a group of people? How accessible is this viz to individuals with disabilities (i.e. vision deficiencies or learning disabilities)? Is this viz approachable to different [gender/racial/ethnic/religious, etc.] groups?
  • Other thoughts not captured: anything else you want to toss out there that isn't captured above?
  • Recommended inspiration: are there certain vizzes or vizzers you recommend the creator view for inspiration and ideas?

I'm looking forward to working with you through the first Creative Vizzing Workshop. Again, if interested, please fill out this form.

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