Presented By O’Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
21–22 May 2018: Training
22–24 May 2018: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

Making data visual: A practical session on using visualization for insight

Danyel Fisher (, Miriah Meyer (University of Utah)
13:3017:00 Tuesday, 22 May 2018
Visualization and user experience
Location: Capital Suite 9 Level: Non-technical
Secondary topics:  Visualization, Design, and UX
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 4 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Data scientists, analytics-oriented project managers, and data developers

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to gather information around understanding a data-driven task, operationalize a problem into coherent and specific tasks, and map those tasks to visualizations


You have a mound of data sitting in front of you and a suite of computation tools at your disposal. And yet, you’re stumped as to how to turn that data into insight. While data science case studies demonstrate how organizations have made billions of dollars by looking at the right dimensions, it can be difficult to figure out which dimensions are the right ones.

Using hands-on exercises, Danyel Fisher and Miriah Meyer outline a technique for filling this gap that treats data science as a holistic endeavor, one that combines knowledge about what is technically possible with a human-centered sensibility. In a discussion grounded in a description of fundamental visualization design patterns (which informs how we think about data, the questions we ask of it, and what we can do with it), Danyel and Miriah explain how to form questions and transform data in order to support human-driven data exploration. They also teach visualization patterns, each of which offers a different perspective on data and answers different questions. You’ll learn about data counseling, which allows users to conceptualize and shape their data into one of these patterns, as well as a taxonomy of visualizations for common data types, techniques for gathering design requirements, and references for when and where to make use of statistical methods.

Photo of Danyel Fisher

Danyel Fisher

Danyel Fisher is a principal design researcher at Danyel’s work focuses on ways to help users interact with data more easily through data visualization and analytics, particularly by visualizing big data, logfile, and trace data. Previously, he spent 13 years at Microsoft Research, where among other things, he looked at ways to make big data analytics faster and more interactive with incremental visualization. Danyel is the coauthor, with Miriah Meyer, of Making Data Visual. He holds an MS from UC Berkeley and a PhD from UC Irvine.

Photo of Miriah Meyer

Miriah Meyer

University of Utah

Miriah Meyer is an associate professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah, where she runs the Visualization Design Lab. Her research focuses on the design of visualization systems for helping analysts and researchers make sense of complex data. Miriah was named a University of Utah distinguished alumni, a TED fellow, and a PopTech science fellow and has been included on MIT Technology Review’s TR35 list of the top young innovators.