a Celebration of Failure in VIS Research

Failure is a crucial part of the scientific process, but it is rarely given the same respect as success.
FailFest, a half day workshop at IEEE VIS 2020, is a chance for the visualization community to share
personal research failures and celebrate the important knowledge gained through these experiences.

The workshop will cumulate strategies for building a VIS community
that acknowledges failure and embraces its scientific value.

Call for Participation

Members of the community are invited to submit a story of failure in their own visualization research that they would like to share with the world. Some examples include:

  • Findings that did not generalize as expected
  • Studying a non-representative population
  • Methodology regrets ("I wish I'd remembered to ask...")
  • Flawed data analysis pipelines
  • Improper application of statistical methods
  • Under- or over-estimating time, money, or other resources
  • Not effectively leveraging diverse team skills
  • Submitting to the wrong venue
  • Not admitting failure or asking for help in a timely manner


Precision Conference System (PCS) will be used to facilitate and organize calls for proposals and submissions. Calls for submissions will include:

  • Position papers or extended abstracts, published in the conference proceedings and included on the USB stick, will address topics such as: how mentors in the visualization community presently or should ideally respond to failure; implementation of iterative design principles to visualization research workflows; or the role of community critique in development and evaluation of methods. Deadline for abstracts is July 24th, 2020. Paper authors will receive reviews by August 14th, 2020. Accepted and revised extended abstracts and position papers will have a camera-ready deadline of August 28th, 2020.
  • A panel discussion of mid- or senior-level career visualization practitioners sharing: stories of personal experience with research failure, and methods for recovery such as cognitive reframing or project restructuring. Call for panelists will launch immediately pending workshop acceptance. The full panel will be announced in early August.
  • 90-second video stories or e-posters, to be shown on poster monitors during the main conference event and included on the conference USB stick. The organizers would like to request 6 poster slots for the workshop. The deadline for video stories and e-posters is July 31st, 2020.
  • Web articles in a conversational tone for informal and brief personal experiences with failure, to be shared on a new "Fail Fest" online publication (e.g. Medium.com) and through social media channels such as Twitter and the "Early Careers in Vis" community Slack channel leading up to the conference. Web articles will be accepted on a rolling basis pending workshop proposal acceptance.

Submissions will be evaluated on clarity of narrative, explicit identification of error(s), validity of alternate approach strategies or future improvement, scientific contribution, and specific relevance to the field of data visualization. For more information, email the organizers.