Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

The paper concentrates on the subject of how useful the medium of visualization can be in our life. Authors start off by stating the apparent challenges in putting for the value of InfoViz ( Information Visualization). They state that visualization is such a medium whose value cannot be directly understood but has to be proven. The authors cite the factors that can lead us to knowing how important visualization really is.

The authors further put forth valid arguments stating the famous quote : "a picture is worth thousand words" and stress on how cognitive processes can help us understand a particular problem more effectively than a method with no visual aid. They claim that cognitive processes reduce search of information by enhancing the capacity of the user to recognize patterns much faster. The article also mentions how vision is the most powerful way of interpreting information in humans. They state that there are certain principles which every visualization experts follow to make their product much more useful and informative to the user.

To prove how important visualizations are; the article cites examples which have been successful in transforming an extremely complex data-set into something that can be understood within minutes. I found the Napoleon's March example to be an excellent proof on how useful InfoViz actually is. The fact that converting a long table of numbers into a scatter chart can help you understand the relative patterns is a proof in itself.
The article also compares another technique of analysis i.e. statistics with visualization to give us a feel of the actual value of InfoViz.

I personally think that this paper is an excellent source of information for people who are beginners in the field of visualization about how important and subtle this art is. It also makes the actual value of InfoViz stand out to the reader.