Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reaction: The value of Information Visualization

This white paper tries to make the reader aware of the importance of information visualization because it is much difficult to convey this importance to a broader audience in a non-face-to-face setting.
The paper starts off with the most widely accepted definition of information visualization and points out that the value of visualization is difficult to understand because cognition realized from visualization cannot be directly measured.
The author cites that visualizations are more handy when the user wants to study the data more minutely and that they explain the data in a better way.
Visualizations are typically useful when the user is unfamiliar to the data or the domain. They make the information easier to understand by providing visual cues as opposed to textual description of data.
It is explained that information visualization speeds the human perception of the data by revealing a pattern. The article presents an example to assert that the pictorial representation of data is easier to understand than a table of data.
From cognition point of view, visualizations help understand a dataset because they provide larger working set for thinking and analysis by making use of the perceptual capabilities. It is also stated that perceptual cognition is far superior to auditory cognition and this is what gives visualization an edge over others in some cases.
The article also presents some compelling visualization examples which describe the utility they provide to the data. The author tries to convey the effect visualization has in order to understand complex data. Graphics and visual data are adopted these days because of the growing complexity and volume of data.
Finally, the paper concludes with stating that the visualization must be effective and informative in order to understand their value and that their need will grow in future with increase in complexity of data.