Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

The paper brings out the various aspects of Information Visualization. The content has been systematically organized into three parts namely challenges faced in highlighting the value and effectiveness of visualization, success stories of visualization and an effective attempt to quantify the effectiveness of visualization. According to me,the relationship between the representation used for visualization and the task to be addressed is one of the key factors in determining the success of an Information Visualization. If this relationship is perceived incorrectly, it might defeat the purpose of visualization. 

The definition of Information Visualization speaks about "amplifying cognition". Every eye perceives differently. Hence, the increase in knowledge enhancement is a relative term and it is quite a challenge to measure it. For example, if I build a Visualization tool on to show the usefulness of software tools available on the internet. For an avid software user, it might be a very useful piece of information and might enhance his knowledge. It might not be the case for a person who doesn't use softwares much. Thus it is necessary to bear in mind the target audience, in addition to the other factors, while measuring the increase in knowledge. Further, the author mentions the various factors an effective visual system needs to consider when it tries to understand an image which are Proximity, Similarity, continuity, Symmetry, Closure and Relative Size. I feel, Familiarity is one more factor that can be added to this list. Familiar things tend to cause more user engagement and hence help in providing further insight. On the whole, the article puts across effectively the importance of visualization.Moreover, it would be interesting to dive deeper into the model used to measure the success of information visualization quantitatively.