Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Reaction: Attention and Visual Memory in Visualization and computer Graphics

This paper discusses the importance of human perception in visualization. The paper talks about preattentive processing where humans automatically tend to categorize an image into different regions or different properties.

Dr. Healey presents visual examples to understand how they are perceived by humans, based on colors, shapes, boundary margins and the mix of these or other properties. He uses this to form the basis of his discussion in the paper where some features like a unique target or a different boundary are declared to be preattentive. The author describes the various scientific theories that explain why and how such preattentive features are categorized or identified quickly by the human visual system.

I specially liked the theory of feature hierarchy where the author talks about how certain elements help in presenting info without any confusion as some features are more prominent or so very distinct from another that the visual system can easily perceive it. Also, it is very interesting to know about how the human eye searches for color, text and how sometimes it is blind in identification of some changes, how memory plays an important role and how the mood of the person just before seeing the visual or repeated viewing of the visual can change his perception and understanding of the information.

This paper describes the theories and the many factors that affect visualization and perception. I wish it had included details of how a visual/ graph design can incorporate these sensitive issues to present maximum information to the user in a glance.