Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Sept 29–Oct 1, 2015 • New York, NY

From profiling to analysis: Designing visualization tools for purpose

Jeffrey Heer (Trifacta | University of Washington), Jock Mackinlay (Tableau)
11:20am–12:00pm Thursday, 10/01/2015
Design, User Experience, & Visualization
Location: 3D 03/10 Level: Non-technical
Average rating: ****.
(4.17, 12 ratings)

The big data era has lead to the proliferation of new technologies that enable a wider set of users to more effectively analyze and consume data to improve operations and decision making. In large part, this has been brought about by the advancement and popularity of data visualization.

We’ve moved beyond traditional dashboard visualizations as the sole method of consuming data, and instead are now incorporating data visualizations into nearly every aspect of the analysis process. With advances in data visualization technology, designers and developers have more flexibility in how visualizations are leveraged within data products. But without a well-defined strategy for the end purpose of the visualization, these products can be ineffective.

In this session, Jeffrey Heer of Trifacta and Jock Mackinlay of Tableau will discuss the process for designing data visualizations for distinct stages of the analysis process. The discussion will explore how the personas and considerations of designing data visualizations, to enable fast exploration and profiling of data in native formats, differ greatly from the inputs for designing data visualizations for performing exploratory analysis on clean, structured data downstream. Jeffrey and Jock will incorporate examples from their work in research and academia, as well as examples from their respective industry experience at Trifacta and Tableau.

Photo of Jeffrey Heer

Jeffrey Heer

Trifacta | University of Washington

Jeffrey Heer is Trifacta’s chief experience officer and cofounder as well as a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, where he directs the Interactive Data Lab. Jeff’s passion is the design of novel user interfaces for exploring, managing, and communicating data. The data visualization tools developed by his lab (D3.js, Protovis, Prefuse) are used by thousands of data enthusiasts around the world. In 2009, Jeff was named to MIT Technology Review’s list of “top innovators under 35.”

Photo of Jock Mackinlay

Jock Mackinlay


Jock D. Mackinlay is an American information visualization expert and vice president of visual analysis at Tableau Software. Jock has a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University, where he pioneered the automatic design of graphical presentations of relational information. He joined Xerox PARC in 1986, where he collaborated with the User Interface Research Group to develop many novel applications of computer graphics for information access, coining the term Information Visualization. Much of the fruits of this research can be seen in his book, Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (Morgan Kauffman, written and edited with Stuart K. Card and Ben Shneiderman). Jock is a co-inventor of numerous software patents related to information visualization.