Monday, September 19, 2011

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

The paper seeks to identify the fundamental ways that interaction is used in Infovis systems and its benefits. The authors have explained the paper in a very systematic manner. First they have signified the importance of interaction in Infovis systems and revealed its subtle complexity then provided a novel user intent-based categorization to discuss and characterize interaction techniques in Infovis ultimately showing why interaction is so necessary for Infovis systems.

Few of the points that authors have put up to corroborate their points:

  • Infovis technique or system becomes a static image or autonomously animated images without interaction techniques. Operations such as moving a dynamic query slider to narrow the set of data points being shown or selecting an alternate point in a fisheye view to change the focus seem like clear examples of interactive behavior.
  • Interaction techniques in Infovis seem more designed for changing and adjusting visual representation than for entering data into systems, which clearly is an important aspect of interaction in HCI.
  • Interaction techniques in Infovis are features that provide users with the ability to directly or indirectly manipulate and interpret representations.
  • By supporting further exploration of data items, interaction enables users to have multiple perspectives and gain insight on the data set. It is what separates an Infovis system from a static image. They conclude that these two components are in a symbiotic relationship.

The paper lists taxonomies in tabular form and infers that they lack something important. The first three sets focus strongly on interaction techniques and are relatively system-centric. The last set focuses on user goals without a main focus on interaction. I completely agree with authors that it would be beneficial to bridge these two efforts to connect user objectives with the interaction techniques that help accomplish them.