Monday, September 19, 2011

Reaction: The eyes have it: a task by data type taxonomy for information visualizations

This paper which dates back to July of 1996 is one of those papers written when visualization was still a nascent and unexplored area. This paper actually gives us a clear understanding of why there was a need of shift towards visualization of information from normal data retrieval systems. The author stresses on the point, "Overview first, zoom and filter then details on demand", which was the need of an hour when data retrieval systems were just not successful in handling large systems as the users intended them to be.

The authors have come up with one of the better taxonomies among their contemporary researchers by diving the tasks and data types into categories of simple and more pragmatic in dealing with the problems then faced. The seven tasks and the data types represent a high level abstraction of the needs of having visualization to handle large data sets. Although this was not the only paper that talks about task by data type taxonomy, this paper successfully defines and covers all aspects that are to be considered while taken all attributes into the system.

Although this paper is written way back in the late 1990's it gives a great insight into how the then researchers had to look at the early stages of visualization and the needs of importance of catering to the users/viewers have enabled them to the unexplored areas of visualization.