Faculty Directory
Jessica Hullman

Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Assistant Professor of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

Allen K. and Johnnie Cordell Breed Junior Professor of Design


2233 Tech Drive
Mudd Room 3521
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

Email Jessica Hullman


Jessica Hullman's website


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Tableau Software Postdoctoral Fellowship, Computer Science Division, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 2015 

PhD in Information (Visualization), The University of Michigan School of Information, Ann Arbor, MI, 2013 

Master of Science in Information (Information Analysis and Retrieval), The University of Michigan School of Information, Ann Arbor, MI, 2008

Master of Fine Arts in Writing and Poetics, Prose Concentration, Jack Kerouac School for Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, Boulder, CO, 2006

Bachelor of Arts, Comparative Studies in Religion (magna cum laude, GPA 3.73), The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 2003

Research Interests

Jessica Hullman's primary research interests are in information visualization and the communication of uncertainty. Broadly speaking, the goals of her work are to help more people, such as news readers, make sense of complex information by developing tools and techniques that use visualization, structured data and automation.

Much of Hullman's work focuses on how to better match data presentations to how people think about complex phenomena. She has contributed approaches for automatically generating annotated visualizations for the news, design tools for multiple view visualizations, algorithms for generating personalized measurement analogies (e.g. '59 acres is twice the size of Chicago's Millenium Park'), and visualization techniques for uncertainty information. She is particularly interested in developing ways to improve uncertainty communication through visualizations that express uncertainty as a set of hypothetical outcomes and interfaces that enable interacting with one's prior knowledge and beliefs about data. 

Hullman's research has been supported by the NSF (CAREER, CRII), Google, Adobe, Tableau Software and the Navy, among others. Her work has received multiple Best Paper awards from top Visualization and Human-Computer Interaction venues. Prior to joining Northwestern she was an assistant professor at the University of Washington Information School and a postdoc in Computer Science at the University of California Berkeley. 

Significant Recognition

  • Honorable Mention for Best Paper. ACM CHI 2018. Top 5% of full paper submissions.
  • Honorable Mention for Best Paper. IEEE InfoVis 2017. One of only three total awards given annually to full paper submissions.
  • Best Paper. ACM CHI 2017. Top 1% of full paper submissions.
  • Honorable Mention for Best Paper. ACM CHI 2017. Top 5% of full paper submissions.
  • Gary M. Olson Outstanding Ph.D. Student, May 2013. School of Information at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2013.
  • Rackham Centennial Award Merit Scholar, Apr 2012. Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2012.
  • Honorable Mention for Best Paper. IEEE InfoVis 2011. One of only three total awards given annually to full paper submissions.
  • Naropa “Secret Attic” Faculty's Choice Best Master's Thesis Award. Naropa University, Boulder, CO, 2006.

Significant Professional Service

  • IEEE InfoVis 2018, 2016
  • HILDA (Human-In-the-Loop Data Analytics) 2017, 2018
  • EuroVis State of the Art Reports 2018
  • Computation + Journalism 2016, 2017, 2018
  • BELIV 2016
  • ACM UIST 2015
  • IEEE VisArts Program 2015

Selected Publications

    Refereed Conference and Journal Publications

    *denotes student advisee. I use an authoring convention where students are listed first. Through 2016, I appear earlier in the author list when I am the primary faculty mentor. From 2017 - present, I list myself last when I am the primary faculty mentor.

    Hullman, J., Qiao*, X., Correll, M., Kale*, A., and Kay, M. In Pursuit of Error: A Survey of Uncertainty Visualization Evaluation. IEEE VIS 2018.

    Kale*., A., Nguyen*, F., Kay, M., and Hullman, J.. Hypothetical Outcome Plots Help Untrained Observers Judge Trends in Ambiguous Data. IEEE VIS 2018.

    Hullman, J., and Bach, B. Picturing Science: Design Patterns in Graphical Abstracts. DIAGRAMS 2018. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Kim*, YS., Nguyen*, F., Speers, L., and Agrawala, M. Improving Comprehension of Measurements Using Concrete Re-expression Strategies. ACM CHI 2018. Download PDF

    Fernandes, M., Walls, L., Munson, S., Hullman, J., and Kay, M. Uncertainty Displays Using Quantile Dotplots or CDFs Improve Transit Decision-Making. ACM CHI 2018. Honorable Mention Download PDF

    Qu*, Z. and Hullman, J.. Keeping Multiple Views Consistent: Constraints, Validations, and Exceptions in Visualization Authoring. IEEE InfoVis 2017. Honorable Mention Download PDF

    Kim*, YS., Reinecke, K., and Hullman, J.. Data Through Others' Eyes: The Impact of Visualizing Others’ Expectations on Visualization Interpretation. IEEE InfoVis 2017. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Kay, M., Kim*, YS., and Shrestha, S. Imagining Replications: Graphical Prediction & Discrete Visualizations Improve Recall & Estimation of Effect Uncertainty. IEEE InfoVis 2017. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Kosara, R., and Lam, H. Finding a Clear Path: Structuring Strategies for Visualization Sequences. EuroVis 2017. Download PDF

    Kim*, YS, Reinecke, K., and Hullman, J. Explaining the Gap: Visualizing One's Predictions Improves Recall and Comprehension of Data. ACM CHI 2017. Best Paper Award Download PDF

    Kim, Y., Wongsuphasawat, K., Hullman, J., and Heer, J. Graphscape: A Model for Automated Reasoning About Visualization Similarity and Sequencing. ACM CHI 2017. Honorable Mention Download PDF

    Adar, E., Gearig, C., Balusubramanian, A., and Hullman, J. Persalog: Personalization of News Article Content. ACM CHI 2017. Download PDF

    Kim*, YS, Hullman, J., Burgess, M., and Adar, E. SimpleScience: Lexical Simplification of Scientific Terminology. EMNLP 2016

    Kim*, YS, Hullman, J., and Agrawala, M. Generating Personalized Spatial Analogies for Distances and Areas. ACM CHI 2016 Download PDF | Data repository | Tapestry Keynote | Atlas of Me Chrome plugin

    Kay, M., Kola, T., Hullman, J., and Munson, S. Approximately When is My Bus? User-centered Visualizations of Uncertainty in Everyday, Mobile Predictive Systems. ACM CHI 2016 Download PDF, Code repository

    Hullman, J., Resnick, P., and Adar, E. Hypothetical Outcome Plots Outperform Error Bars and Violin Plots for Inferences About Reliability of Variable Ordering. PLOS ONE 2015. Animated PDF (view in Adobe Acrobat) | Animated appendix | Zipped results | Zipped interface/stimuli

    Kim*, YS, Hullman, J., and Adar, E. DeScipher: A Text Simplification Tool for Science Journalism. Computation+Journalism 2015. Download PDF

    Gearig, C, Adar, E., and Hullman, J., Designing for Personalized Article Content. Computation+Journalism 2015. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Krupka, E., and Adar, E. Evaluating Approaches To Crowdsourced Visual Analytics. Paper selected for presentation at Collective Intelligence 2015.

    Hullman, J., Diakopoulos, N., Momeni Roochi, E., and Adar, E. Content, Context, and Critique: Commenting on a Data Visualization Blog, ACM CSCW 2015. Download PDF

    Gao, T., Hullman, J., Adar, E., Hecht, B., and Diakopoulos, N. NewsViews: An Automated Pipeline for Creating Custom Geovisualizations for News. ACM CHI 2014. Demo, Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Drucker, S., Henry-Riche, N., Lee, B., Fisher, D., and Adar, E. A Deeper Understanding of Sequence in Narrative Visualization, IEEE InfoVis 2013. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Diakopoulos, N., and Adar, E. Contextifier: Automatic Generation of Annotated Stock Visualizations. ACM CHI 2013. Demo, Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Adar, E., and Shah, P. Benefitting InfoVis with Visual Difficulties. IEEE InfoVis 2011. Honorable Mention Download PDF

    Hullman, J., and Diakopolous, D. Visualization Rhetoric: Framing Effects in Narrative Visualization. IEEE InfoVis 2011. Download PDF

    Hullman, J., Adar, E., and Shah, P. The Effect of Social Information on Visual Judgments. ACM CHI 2011. Download PDF

    Book Chapter

    Hullman, J., Rhodes, R., Rodriguez, F., and Shah, P. (2012) Research on Graph Comprehension and Data Interpretation: Implications for Score Reporting. In Zapata, D., & Zwick, R. (Eds.) Recent Research on Score Reporting. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Download PDF


    Hullman, J. Understanding and Supporting Trade-offs in the Design of Visualizations for Communication. Dissertation, University of Michigan School of Information, 2013.

    Hullman, J. Practice as Ethics: The Functional Art of Bruce Nauman. Critical Master's Thesis, Naropa University, 2006. Awarded best critical thesis by faculty, published in a critical aesthetics journal.