Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reaction: Task Taxonomy for Graph Visualization

This article is an interesting take on graph information seeking. The authors attempt to gather information about the tasks that users typically perform when gathering information from a graph, and show it this could be useful to graph visualization creators. The 10 analytical tasks that they mention seem similar to the usual visual information seeking mantra that we've seen in the past, but with a few additions.

It is very interesting to see higher level tasks broken down into a few basic tasks that are apparently very common across all information visualization. In hindsight, that's probably the best way to think about things. Breaking it down allows for you to think of common, familiar paradigms for human-computer interaction to apply to you visualization. For some reason I don't think we've encountered that kind of breakdown yet, and I'm going to try reading the article that is mentioned as the source of these low-level analytical tasks (which I found here). It's also good to see the tasks organized into several different subsets (topology-based, attribute-based and browsing).

This is an all-around good paper. It's concise, has good information, isn't overly defensive about the usefulness of visualization (like several of the mostly earlier ones), has good examples, isn't too dense, and is just pretty useful, it seems.