Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reaction: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Role of Interaction in Information Visualization

The different views presented in this article of what interaction encompasses give insight into the many ways users can interface with a visualization. I agree with the authors' definition of interaction as the ability to manipulate the interface to change the data represented by the visualization. This definition excludes any sort of static info graphics from the field, but I feel that they should still be included. Info graphics still provide viewers with data that can be interpreted without interaction.

The authors describe the separation between static and interactive visualizations as adding two different roles: user and viewer. The taxonomies of interaction techniques presented in the article show that role of the user is a much more interesting role to take. The descriptors for each of the different techniques show that there can be several unique methods of interaction that may only slightly differ from others. For example, I feel that categorizing and filtering could be describing similar interactions with the exception of categorization presenting several different sets of related data on the same view and filtering only displaying one.

Overall, the authors of the article give a good representation of the most common interaction techniques. Most importantly, they help define the goals users have in mind when performing these techniques. These goals help designers choose the proper tools to provide users data manipulation in an info visualization.