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Seminar: Visualization Design and Evaluation: on Flat Screens, in VR/AR and More

Yalong Yang

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Zoom Only

Yalong Yang


Visualizations are tools that translate raw and complex data into meaningful graphics. They leverage human perception to summarize data in a cognitively efficient way, making them popular in science, analysis, and the media. Display capacity is an essential resource for designing  visualizations. Different displays provide different capabilities in terms of how the data can be visually represented and how people can interact with visualizations.

In this talk, I will present my experience in designing and evaluating novel visualizations on flat screens, in VR/AR, and in physical formats. I will focus in particular on VR/AR, which allows us to  remove the boundaries of physical screens and envision dramatically new human-computer  interaction experiences. I will first outline the unique features VR/AR provides for visualization design and then demonstrate how to utilize them to build novel and effective immersive visualizations. Finally, I will describe the vision of the future workspace, where people are primarily using VR/AR to see and interact with the digital world. I will discuss grand challenges for this future and conclude on an optimistic note: with deep integration between hardware, software, and user experience, we could achieve this vision in the near future.


Yalong Yang is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Before joining Harvard University, he received his Ph.D. degree from Monash University, Australia, on a thesis titled “Visualising Geographically-Embedded Origin-Destination Flows: in 2D and immersive environments.”

His research concerns many aspects of Visualization (VIS), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), and VR/AR. He is especially interested in the emerging research topic — Immersive Analytics, which  focuses on applying engaging, embodied display and interaction techniques (e.g., VR/AR) for data visualization and analytics. He has published 11 papers at top-tier visualization venues (IEEE VIS, ACM CHI, and EuroVis) and is an active member of these communities on promoting immersive analytics research. He also received a Best Paper Honorable Mention Award at IEEE VIS - InfoVis  2016. More details about his research can be found at