Analysis Processes in Collaborative Visualization



To design information visualization tools for collaborative use, we need to understand how teams engage with visualizations during their information analysis process. We ran an exploratory study of individuals, pairs, and triples engaged in information analysis tasks using paper-based visualizations.

From our study results, we derive a set of analysis activities of co-located teams and individuals:

Activity Description Goal
Browse scan through the data get a feel for the available information
Parse reading and interpretation of the task description determine required variables for the task
Select pick out visualizations relevant to a particular task minimize the number of visualizations to read
Discuss Collaboration Style discuss task division strategy determine how to solve the tasks as a team
Establish Task Strategy establish how to solve a task with given data & tools find an efficient way to solve the problem
Clarify understand a visualization avoid mis-interpretation of the data
Operate higher-level cognitive work on specific data view solve task or sub-task
Validate confirm a partial or complete solution to a task avoid errors in completing the task

Out of these tasks, the ones highlight in blue were the ones mostly conducted in collaboration, the green ones were mostly done individually without much discussion or sharing of visualization.

Another interesting finding was that participants never adoped the same or similar analysis strategies, not within the group nor between groups. Almost all performed the analysis in different temporal orders of activities.


This image shows which of the above processes occured with which other ones. You can see, that overall, people switched most often to the operate process (note that the image doesn't say anything about how much time they spent in each process). Operations were most often followed by selections (blue) but also often by other processes. People varied a lot in which processes they used and in which temporal order. See the paper for more details.


This is a short youtube video of my minute madness at CHI 2008. It's a short sketch about why you would want to do collaborative visualization and how you shouldn't do it (sequentially around a tabletop).

(:youtube QQB69YyJm0M:)


Petra Isenberg, Anthony Tang, and Sheelagh Carpendale (2008) An Exploratory Study of Visual Information Analysis. In Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008, April 5–10, 2008, Florence, Italy). ACM Press, New York, NY, USA, pages 1217–1226, 2008.

BibTeX entry:

@INPROCEEDINGS{Isenberg:2008:AES, author = {Petra Isenberg and Anthony Tang and Sheelagh Carpendale}, title = {A}n {E}xploratory {S}tudy of {V}isual {I}nformation {A}nalysis, booktitle = {Proceedings of the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008, April 5--10, 2008, Florence, Italy)}, year = {2008}, pages = {1217--1226}, publisher = {ACM Press}, address = {New York, NY, USA}, doi = {10.1145/1357054.1357245}, doi_url = {}, pdf = {../publications/papers/Isenberg_2008_AES.pdf}, }
Petra Neumann, Anthony Tang, and Sheelagh Carpendale (2007) A Framework for Visual Information Analysis. Technical report 2007-87123, University of Calgary, July 2007.

BibTeX entry:

@TECHREPORT{Neumann:2007:AFF, author = {Petra Neumann and Anthony Tang and Sheelagh Carpendale}, title = {A Framework for Visual Information Analysis}, year = {2007}, institution = {University of Calgary}, number = {2007-87123}, month = {July}, address = {Calgary, AB, Canada}, doi = {1880/45784}, doi_url = {}, pdf = {../publications/papers/Neumann_2007_AFF.pdf}, }

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