Monday, September 19, 2011

Reaction: The eyes have it: A task by data type Taxonomy for Information Visualizations

Ben Shneiderman's paper lays out very well the role of information visualization in a world where information overload is rampant. The paper points out the the simple guidelines for a good visualization in a single sentence. "Over first, zoom and filter, then details on demand". Even today these are the tasks that are of prime importance in a visualization. The author tries to classify the tasks based on data type taxonomy. The taxonomy suggested by the author takes into consideration the common types of data being visualized. There are details about the how they are different and why some of them like temporal data and network data deserve special category. Then the paper lists the important ways of zoom in and filter for each type of data type. The paper also lists the different techniques that have been used to perform the basic tasks on different data types. It is in way a state of the art for information visualization in 1996.