Picture of our keynote speaker, Penina Acayo Laker.

Visualization for Communication (VisComm)


While the visualization field consists of researchers exploring how people perceive information and different data visualization tools and platforms, there is an even larger community of analysts, practitioners, and organizations who are creating data and information visualizations and communicating their work every day. The challenges these groups face in communicating their work are often distinct from the research taking place in the academic community.

Most people experience visualization as communication and presentation. The New York Times and other publications regularly release interactive visuals depicting complex datasets including political topics, budgets, and sports. An independent community of visualization practitioners and bloggers has also sprung up, producing and deconstructing visualizations of data of broad interest. Free visualization tools such as D3, Data Wrapper, Tableau Public, and others are available and widely used.

The VisComm workshop brings together practitioners and researchers from a broad range of disciplines to address questions raised by the new and evolving role of data visualization in our everyday lives. We encourage participation from journalists, designers, practitioners, health communicators, and others who do not typically attend IEEE VIS.


The workshop will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Sunday, October 22, 2023: 2:00 PM-5:00 PM AEDT (UTC+11).


Opening (2:00PM - 2:15PM AEDT)

Keynote (2:15PM - 3:15PM AEDT)

Panel on The Future of Visualization

Public health-related issues disproportionately impact under-resourced communities with lower literacy levels and limited access to vital healthcare information. Moreover, healthcare information is often misrepresented and filled with false rumors about sickness and treatment. Existing visual solutions often fail to communicate the most straightforward messages due to overly complex narratives and culturally out-of-context imagery. Participatory design methods, such as co-creation, have gained popularity for their effectiveness in generating culturally relevant solutions and empowering participants. From simplified iconographic symbols that communicate common ailments associated with contracting and treating Malaria in Kibera, Kenya, to illustrated visual narratives that promote health and mental health behaviors among primary school children in rural Uganda, this talk examines the critical role of active audience participation in designing visual interventions that empower involved participants. A unified visual language that uses simplified iconography with a human-centered approach enables the designs to communicate to the specific literacy levels and cultural values of the communities involved.

Penina Acayo Laker is a design researcher and Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Washington University in St. Louis. Through community-centered interdisciplinary research projects, Penina explores how design can facilitate equitable engagement between community members and stakeholders, locally and internationally. She is the founding director of the Health Communication Design Studio and is currently addressing the impact of health disparities on underserved minority populations in St. Louis and broadening the scope and access of design education to young people in Uganda through DesignEd workshops and My African Aesthetic Podcast which she co-hosts. She has collaborated on an award-winning project that used simplified iconography to communicate ailments associated with the spread, prevention, and treatment of malaria in Kibera, Kenya. She is a co-editor of the award-winning book, The Black Experience in Design: Identity, Reflection and Expression, a 600-page anthology featuring essays, teaching practices, research, and conversations on design with Black/African educators, scholars, and thinkers.

Break (3:15PM - 3:45PM AEDT)

Papers and Visual Case Study (3:45PM - 4:51PM AEDT)

3:45PM - 3:57PM:
Visual Communication of Aftershock Forecasts Based on User Needs: A Case Study of the United States, Mexico and El Salvador
Max Schneider, Anne Wein, Nicholas van der Elst, Sara K. McBride, Julia Becker, Raul R Castro, Manuel Diaz, Hector Gonzalez-Huizar, Jeanne Hardebeck, Andrew Michael, Luis Ernesto Mixco, Morgan Page, Jocelyn I Palomo

Abstract: Aftershock forecasts can help reduce seismic risk...

3:57PM - 4:04PM:
[VCS] Animating history: An energy Sankey movie, 1800–2019
Robert Suits, Ben Kleeman, Nathan Matteson, Liz Moyer, Milson Munakami, Kalyan Reddivari

Concern over climate change is driving interest in changing the U.S. energy system, which is the result of two centuries of gradual development...

4:04PM - 4:16PM:
Exploring Annotation Strategies in Professional Visualizations: Insights from Prominent US News Portals
Md Dilshadur Rahman, Ghulam Jilani Quadri, Paul Rosen

Annotations play a vital role in visualizations, providing valuable insights and focusing attention on critical visual elements.This study analyzes a curated corpus of 72...

4:16PM - 4:28PM:
How visualization designers' assumptions can mislead in communicating with visualizations
Prakash Chandra Shukla, Paul Parsons

As the field of visualization continues to expand, understanding how visualization designers think and the kinds of assumptions they hold becomes crucial...

4:28PM - 4:40PM:
Toward an Online System to Generate Tailored Infographics: Supporting the Health Information Sharing Needs of Community-Based Organizations
Adriana Arcia, Eri Noguchi, Suzanne Bakken

Infographics are an engaging way to share health information with the public, but their relevance and appeal can be improved if they can be tailored to the language, culture, and information needs of their target audience...

4:40PM - 4:52PM:
Design of Visualization Onboarding Concepts for a 2D Scatterplot in a Biomedical Visual Analytics Tool
Christina Stoiber, Daniela Moitzi, Holger Stitz, Dominic Girardi, Marc Streit, Wolfgang Aigner

Biomedical research is highly data-driven. Domain experts need to learn how to interpret complex data visualizations to gain insights. They often need help interpreting data...

Closing (4:52PM - 5:00PM AEDT)


VisComm seeks contributions addressing questions including:

We particularly encourage contributors to address and illustrate issues like these with visual case studies that demonstrate the success or failure of communicative visualization projects in data journalism, public health and more. Our goal is to consider a broad range of examples and learn from their design decisions and process.

We invite contributions from any discipline, but particularly encourage journalists and designers to submit their work involving data-based communication or reporting. Scientific contributions concerning visualization for communication are of course welcome, as well.


VisComm has four submission tracks: short papers (research or position), visual case studies, and late-breaking works in progress. Selection criteria are clarity, relevance to the workshop, innovation, and quality of questions for attendees.

Short Research Papers

We invite submission of research papers between 2 and 6 pages long, including references, with length matching content. Research papers will be reviewed based on how well claims are supported by evidence. Submissions are expected to include all materials and data needed to replicate and reproduce any figures, analyses, and methods. If anything cannot be publicly shared (e.g., for data privacy concerns), state the reason in the paper.

Short Position Papers

We invite submission of position papers between 2 and 6 pages long, including references, with length matching content. Position papers are problem discussions or statements describing the author's relevant experience and ideas with regards to methods and methodologies for visualization research, and in particular the focus topic of the workshop. Position papers will be selected according to their importance and relevance for the workshop topics and how well they will fit the planned discussions.

Visual Case Studies

We invite practitioners to submit a one-page write-up together with a link to an online piece or a short video. The write-up should explain what you made, why you made it, outcome/responses (both expected and unexpected), etc. The goal is to show the work of journalists, designers, people working for governments or non-profits, etc., who use data to inform and communicate.

Late-Breaking Works in Progress

The purpose of this category is to present work in progress and receive feedback from attendees.

For research that is in progress, this session will provide a supportive atmosphere for helpful feedback and fresh perspectives on your aims and/or methods. Recommended structure for your one-page submission is: introduction, preliminary methods, preliminary findings (if applicable), and questions for attendees.

For practitioners, this is an opportunity to present contributions that showcase innovative visualizations or provide provocations for new ideas to emerge. Your one-page brief should include project background, design objectives, methods or design process, links to visualization design alternatives, preliminary findings (if available), and questions for attendees.


Your paper, abstract or write-up should take the form of a PDF file, formatted in the VGTC conference style, which has both LaTeX and MS Word templates. However, please replace the statement about IEEE copyright and reprints with the following text: "This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License."

All submissions should contain full author names and affiliations. If applicable, a short video (up to 5 min. in length) may also be submitted. Submissions will be juried by the organizers. At least one author of each accepted submission must register for the conference (even if only for the workshop). Registration information is available on the IEEE VIS website.


All accepted submissions will be posted on the workshop website.

We expect authors of accepted submissions to post their documents on the Open Science Framework's preprint archive, using the instructions we send. Authors are welcome to post an initial version of their submission earlier. Our OSF workshop papers are not considered archival by IEEE, and may be published elsewhere at a later date. However, we understand that authors from non-engineering disciplines may have different prior publication standards; please contact the chairs if you must publish your accepted submission differently.

Presenting authors can make use of a reduced workshop-only registration fee at IEEE VIS. Additionally, the IEEE VIS Inclusivity & Diversity Scholarship Committee provides complimentary conference registration based on need.


deadlines occur at 11:59 PM in the last timezone on Earth.

Short Papers and Visual Case Studies

Late-Breaking Works in Progress

All Submission Tracks


At VisComm, we want to provide avenues for collaboration and networking. We are creating a directory of people willing to be contacted about their areas of expertise. The directory will be unveiled during VIS week and thereafter will be available to anyone who signs up for the VisComm email list. Follow this link to add your entry to the directory


The quickest way to contact VisComm's organizers is via their shared email,

Paul Parsons, Purdue University
Alvitta Ottley, Washington University in St. Louis
Jonathan Schwabish, Urban Institute
Alice Feng, Urban Institute


Melanie Bancilhon, Washington University in St. Louis
Sunwoo Ha, Washington University in St. Louis


Kaustav Bhattacharjee, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Huyen N. Nguyen, Texas Tech University
Muna Alebri, University College London
Ying Zhu, Georgia State University
Wanwan Li, University of South Florida
Ibrahim Al-Hazwani, University of Zurich
Yaxuan Yin, School of Information
Xiaohan Ding, Virginia Tech
Prakash Chandra Shukla, Purdue University
Ridhima Gupta, Georgia Institute of Technology
Shelly Shiying Cheng, Columbia University
Saugat Pandey, Washington University in St. Louis
Oen McKinley, Washington University in St. Louis
Ali Baigelenov, Purdue University


2022 schedule, papers and posters
2021 schedule, papers and posters
2020 schedule, papers and posters
2019 schedule, papers and posters
2018 schedule, papers and posters