A Trio of Visualization Design Studies
I will discuss the methodology of design studies, an increasingly popular form of problem-driven visualization research, and present three case studies across a spectrum of three very different application domains. Variant View supports scientists studying the genetic basis of disease; determining the impact of gene sequence variants is difficult because it requires reasoning about both the type and location of the variant across several levels of biological context. The tool provides an information-dense visual encoding that provides maximal information at the overview level, in contrast to the extensive navigation required by currently-prevalent genome browsers. Vismon was designed to support sophisticated data analysis of simulation results by policy makers who are highly knowledgeable about the fisheries domain but not experts in simulation software and statistical data analysis, in contrast to the previous workflow that required the scientists who built the models to spearhead the analysis process. Its features include sensitivity analysis, comprehensive and global trade-offs analysis, and a staged approach to the visualization of the uncertainty of the underlying simulation model. RelEx supports automotive engineers who need to specify and optimize traffic patterns for in-car communication networks. The task and data abstractions that we derived support actively making changes to an overlay network, where logical communication specifications must be mapped to an underlying physical network network. These abstractions are very different from the dominant use case in visual network analysis, namely identifying clusters and central nodes, that stems from the domain of social network analysis.
Tamara Munzner is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, in the research area of information visualization. She has been active in visualization research since 1991, and has published over fifty papers and book chapters. Before earning a PhD from Stanford in 2000, she was a technical staff member at the NSF-funded Geometry Center at the University of Minnesota for four years. Afterwards, she was a research scientist at the Compaq Systems Research Lab from 2000 to 2002. Her research interests include the development, evaluation, and characterization of information visualization systems and techniques from both problem-driven and technique-driven perspectives. She has worked on visualization projects in a broad range of application domains, including genomics, evolutionary biology, large-scale system administration, web log analysis, computational linguistics, and geometric topology. She co-chaired InfoVis in 2003 and 2004 and EuroVis in 2009 and 2010. She has consulted for companies including Silicon Graphics, Microsoft, and early-stage startups.
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