Exploiting the Power of the Human Visual System

Human vision can help people work with data because it is a powerful information processing system. However, effective visual displays of data must work with the visual processing system, rather than against it. Design issues range from basic perceptual factors like color and contrast to cognitive models like the management of attention.

In this talk, you’ll learn:

  • What years of research by vision scientists, statisticians and others have taught us about designing great visualizations
  • How good choices for color, shape and size can keep visual displays from being confusing, misleading or illegible
  • Examples of how Tableau was designed to work with the visual system to make it easy to create great visualizations

About the speakers


Jock Mackinlay

Vice President, Research & Design, Tableau Software

Jock Mackinlay is Tableau's Vice President of Visual Analysis. At Stanford University 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." Jock has a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University.


Maureen Stone

Research Scientist, Tableau Software

Maureen Stone has been working in digital color, graphics, perception and the tools for information display for over 30 years. She is a recognized member of the color and visualization research community and author of the book A Field Guide to Digital Color. Her research focuses on making color and other visual encodings more effective. Prior to joining Tableau, she worked first at Xerox PARC, and then as a consultant under the name StoneSoup Consulting.

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