CPSC533C  Information Visualization Assignment 1

Instructor: Dr. Tamara Munzner

Student: Chia-Ning Chiang


Critiques on two pictures:


Good Example:



Source: Scientific American Mind.   Scientific American Magazine, Special Edition ¡V Winter 2003. 



This is a cover page of the special issue indicating the articles included are studying how the mind and brain work.



  1. The cover design immediately catches people¡¦s attention.
  2. Good metaphor:
    1. A face look into a head explains the subject;
    2. The lightening inside the head symbolizes the brain work.
  3. The symbolization is vivid and accurately delivered the message.
  4. The gray color denotes the gray matter in the scull.



Bad Example

Source: ¡§The sentient office is coming,¡¨ The Economist, June 19 2003.



The picture here is to explain that

  1. By adding sensors to computing and communications technology, sentient computing systems are likely to be everywhere, and are always on and ready to anticipate their user¡¦ every need.
  2. Instead of having to turn the TV on, the TV will know what you want by combining an understanding of what you say, your expression, your gestures and even how you walk.
  3. If you are on the phone, the TV will turn the sound down.
  4. The systems can recognize you personally, remember what your favorite channels are, and which programs to record, etc.



1.    The picture doesn¡¦t clearly deliver the design message, it just seems like a man is watching a screen under some kind of surveillance.

2.    The red color human figure does attract the focus on human, but doesn¡¦t give the idea of ¡§the sentient computing systems¡¨.

3.    The texts (such as VOLUME ||||||¡K¡K)in the picture is tiny and vague which makes reader very hard to read.

4.    The cell phone doesn¡¦t explain the situation of ¡§If you on the phone, the TV will turn the sound down¡¨.