Data Visualization: Conveying Information through Visual Representations

Whether you’re pitching a new idea, persuading others to take action, building a strategy, or making a decision, data is key. But the amount of information available today is staggering, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by too many statistics, distracted by the wrong set of numbers, and confused by the complexity of data.

This program combines the science of data visualization with the art of graphic design to help you communicate complex information more accurately and effectively. By transforming data sets into visual graphics—such as charts, bar graphs, scatterplots, and, heatmaps—you can make complex ideas more easily accessible and understandable. Through hands-on exercises, you’ll explore the many types of data in use today, learn how people perceive different graphical displays, and create visual presentations that make a stronger impact on your audience.

Program Benefits

  • Learn how to translate simple and complex data into effective visual displays
  • Communicate more precisely by pinpointing the most relevant information
  • Apply effective methods for analyzing, presenting, and using statistical data    
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of different data visualization approaches
  • Avoid creating misleading representations of data—and being misled by others
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Improving your decision-making skills by boosting your visual thinking
  • Understanding how people interpret different types of visual information
  • Using a wide array of graphs and charts to understand, analyze, and refine data
  • Working with multidimensional data and mapping it to graphical elements
  • Leveraging data visualization and design principles to connect with your audience

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for professionals or managers in a wide range of disciplines with an interest in the visual presentation of data. No programming experience or specific software experience is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet.

Program Information

Program Dates

June 12–13, 2019
Instructor Hanspeter Pfister

Class Times

Programs run from 9 am to 5 pm.

Program Fee

2019 Program Fee: $2,850


One Brattle Square
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.


Hanspeter Pfister is the An Wang Professor of Computer Science at Harvard. His research lies at the intersection of visualization, computer graphics, and computer vision, and spans scientific visualization, point-based graphics, appearance acquisition, GPU computing, and 3D displays. Pfister also offers his semester-long courses online at Harvard Extension School, where he won the 2009 Petra T. Shattuck Excellence in Teaching Award. Previously, he worked at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories as an associate director and a senior research scientist. Pfister holds a PhD in computer science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a master’s in electrical engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich.