Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

This is a very interesting paper that explains why visualization is an effective way of showing data or information. The paper begins with the problems and challenges faced in the field of information visualization and then slowly moves towards its usefulness. The section that deals with cognitive and perceptual arguments really explains the value of information visualization. Phrases such as “seeing is believing” and “A picture is worth a thousand words” really explain a lot about visualization.

The example involving a spreadsheet with data of 150 states and data in the scatterplot prove how easily information can be conveyed to people using visualization and how difficult it becomes to find answers to some complex queries using a spreadsheet! Visuals augment human memory to provide a larger working set for thinking and analysis and thus become external cognition aids. These are the cognitive benefits and the two psychological theories – preattentive processing and gestalt theory describe how images can be effectively processed and understood by a human brain. So overall I guess the paper is well written and does a good job in proving the value of information visualization. According to me visualization is really the best way to convey and understand any information. Personally I find it very easy to relate to visuals. And the statistical values given in this paper really prove this.