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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Data-driven prototyping in information visualization Oppermann, Michael


Prototyping is employed in information visualization to understand user needs and to iteratively implement, test, and refine possible solutions. Yet, data is often seen merely as a resource in this process, and toy or synthetic datasets can lead to incorrect data abstractions and less effective visualization designs. In this dissertation, we demonstrate how a data-driven prototyping process based on real-world data can lead to novel contributions in information visualization with high industry relevance. The design study on the Ocupado project describes the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating a suite of novel visualization tools for studying space utilization at scale. We reflect on the prototyping process that included multiple stakeholders and present generalizable design choices for visualizing non-trajectory spatiotemporal data related to indoor regions. The findings from the Ocupado study highlight the need for analyzing data concerning time periods of interest that are known in advance rather than determined on the fly. We provide a detailed characterization of non-contiguous time series slices and propose TimeElide, a domain-agnostic visual analysis tool and design space. Inspired by emerging large-scale visualization collections and the difficulty in finding relevant information, we investigate a content-based approach for visualization recommendation in the VizCommender study. We focus on text-based content that is representative of the subject matter of visualizations and compare different similarity measures. We identify that all existing visualization snippets—compact previews of visualizations in those collections—are characterized by their low information density and fail to help people judge the relevance. The VizSnippets study is the first systematic approach to visualization snippet design. We propose a design framework and computational pipeline for the lossy compression of visual and textual content into representative snippets. A critical reflection on our data-driven prototyping approach, and visualization design studies in general, reveals an alternative avenue for applied visualization projects that begins with real-world data rather than specific stakeholder analysis questions. We introduce the notion of data-first design studies and provide practical guidance.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International