Data visualization in society: creating meanings and feelings through the visualization of numbers

Nils Martin Engebretsen
Visual Computing Forum

We witness today an increased use of data visualization (DV) in a number of fields and genres: in journalism, in education, in commerce and industry etc. DV – in the forms of colorful graphs, maps and diagrams – are used to inform, convince and tell stories, and they promise to make both statistical material and unstructured flowing data accessible and intelligible even for untrained users. New affordances of dynamics and interaction introduced by digital media technology, make the landscape of DV-design even more rich and complex, and call for new and updated descriptions, models for learning and investigations concerning semiotic qualities and social functions. Martin Engebretsen, professor at UiA and leader of the NFR-funded project INDVIL (Innovative Data Visualization and Visual-numeric Literacy) will share future plans and preliminary results from the project (see He will focus specifically on the use of DV on online news sites. The main questions are: What characterizes the use of data visualizations on major Scandinavian news sites today and how do they create meanings and feelings?


Location:Lille auditorium (208N2), 2rd floor Høyteknologisenteret