Monday, September 19, 2011

Reaction: A Task by Data Type Taxonomy for Information Visualizations

As Marchionini rightly said, "the common goals of Information Visualization reach from finding a narrow set of items in a large collection that satisfy a well-understood information need to developing an understanding of unexpected patterns within the collection". The task of exploring the information collections become increasingly challenging as the volume of the information grows. This paper proposes that the useful starting point for designing advanced graphical user interfaces is the Visual Information-Seeking Mantra: overview first, zoom and filter, then details on demand. The paper offers a task by data type taxonomy with seven data types (one-, two-, three dimensional data, temporal and multi-dimensional data, and tree and network data) and seven tasks(overview, zoom, filter, details-on-demand, relate, history, and extracts).

I agree with the authors on several of their arguments. Though, the above types of data serve the research purposes, for successful commercial use the companies have to come up with several novel data structures and several other new tasks apart from the list mentioned above. There were several novel ways of information exploration tools such as fisheye views, but none of them seem to have sustained over time, as they all appear to be fancy in the beginning, but over repeated usage these features tend to not serving the purpose efficiently.