Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reaction: The Eyes Have It: A Task by Data Type Taxonomy for Information Visualizations

This article discussed information visualization in the context of seven data types (or display mediums) and seven tasks that information visualizations can give. The article attempted to give a more in-depth disucssion of what it termed teh "Visual Information Seeking Mantra", which was "Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand."

I think this article did a good job of trying to deal with the difficulty of characterizing and accurately describing best practices for information visualization. In other papers, I've read how you can't look at infoviz just from one side - that it requires analysis from multiple angles. In this article the authors look at how the data is presented along with what it allows you to do. I found most interesting the ideas of history and extraction. Being able to undo what you have done makes the exploration of data much easier, but being able to extract the data in a useful form after you've explored makes the entire enterprise meaningful. I see these two tasks as lacking in a lot of visualizations that I've seen.

I also thought the advanced filtering idea was interesting - including the point about natural language and boolean language being opposed in some ways. The strategy they described for a more natural view of filtering seemed like a good idea.