Sunday, September 18, 2011



The title of the paper itself got me interested. 'The Eyes Have It', though written way back in 1996, seems so relevant even in today's context. Simple concepts, explained lucidly seem almost intuitive. In fact, it was exactly how I approached the course project when we started low-level prototyping. I think this paper is a 'classic' for information visualization. Even then, Shneiderman anticipated how visualizations would play a major role with advent of high definition color displays and ever improving technology. Another related work that I found useful was a paper on 'A Task Oriented View if Information Visualization', written by Hibino at Bell Labs

(link to paper:

I think the concepts put forth in this paper can also be adapted to current technologies. I particularly would like to put this in context of mobile displays or displays for tablets. There are so many points of interaction with the device for users. The number of modalities increases with the 'touch' concept. Even then, the 'mantra' as Shneiderman says, "Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand" remain the same! Off topic, similar to this paper, there is also a paper titled "The Ears Have It - A task by information structure taxonomy for voice access to web pages"

A Review of Overview+Detail, Zooming, and Focus+Context Interfaces

The paper has shifted focus from plain study of interfaces to zero down on the effectiveness of these interfaces. I like the way the paper was organized with enough introductions to each type of interface and then a detailed analysis based on the survey of the others in the subsequent sections. The use of diagrams in the papers was especially helpful and I liked that. I also agree with the authors that motives can be categorized as target acquisition and a general comprehension of the information space depicted. Both are effectively expressed through different types of visualization. I also particularly liked the concept of ‘value bars’ mentioned in the paper.

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

Interaction no doubt, has always been a part of information visualization. What the paper aims to do is extensively study interaction/interface techniques used in visual analytics, identify areas which are not effectively represented and suggest interaction techniques, evolve existing ones to “fill those gaps” as the authors put it. The inclusion of user intent quite natural and the seven categories seem to cover the intent portion very well.