Towards Personal Visual Analytics

Thematic Year Event: 
Coast to Coast Seminar Series
Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 11:30am - 12:30pm
ASB 10900

Modern society demands that people manage, communicate, and interact with digital information at an ever-increasing pace. Even though most people want to be informed, all this information is frequently experienced as stress. It is not the information itself that is the problem, but the manner in which we are bombarded with information in forms that are often hard to interpret. How then can we produce interactive visualizations of digital data in a manner that enhances people's cognitive abilities? Ideally, these visualizations would not only present information visually and aesthetically, but provide people with capabilities for manipulating and exploring this information. A good visualization provokes interpretation, exploration and appreciation, inviting direct interaction that reveals the data.

This sets the stage for my over-arching research goal - to design, develop, and evaluate interactive visualizations so that they support the everyday practices of how people view, represent, manage, and interact with information. To this end, I have followed four intertwined themes: process, presentation, representation, and interaction. My research process convolves art, science, and design practices, and has become a topic of research in itself. Presentation is the act of displaying visuals, emphasizing and organizing areas of interest. Representation is development of accurate and revealing data-to-visual mappings. And interaction is the key to exploration and manipulation capabilities that can make information comprehension viable. In this talk, I will show how each theme is opening up to indicate exciting new directions and discuss how the currently shifting information climate is opening up new opportunities.