Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reaction: The Value of Information Visualization

The paper provides the user some intuitive thinking points which might not have been clearly visible earlier. I would have never imagined a visualization can be the starting point for raising new questions or thinking in an entirely different direction and that a visualization streamlines the thinking process to achieve the best results and help the user frame better questions.

However, it is also important to note that visualizations occupy a lot of space and will not be an efficient to store for long term purposes. Rather the methodology for generating visualizations can be made dynamic enough so as to span several data sources and provide a broader range of visualizations. Some other disadvantages of visualizations include slower performance rates and the need of constantly updating the hardware/drivers so as to be compatible with the visualization tools. I feel that the paper should have focused a bit on this topic, but at the same time considering the big gap between a user's understanding of the importance of visualization and the researchers perspective, this can be considered a lower priority to talk about in the paper.

The paper also makes an attempt to assess the value of a visualization by taking into consideration certain input factors. This might not always be the best estimate. As in a dynamic changing environment like today, the factors which are to be taken into consideration keep changing all the time and some of them used today might be obsolete by the next month or different set of users have different factors associated with them depending on their needs. So therefore it is difficult to fix on a scientific formula for estimating the value of a visualization.

The paper does an excellent job in bridging the gap between a researchers perspective on the importance of visualization and a broader audience's understanding of its importance.