Design Considerations for Co-located Collaborative Information Visualization



One of the goals of my PhD research was to come up with initial design considerations for co-located collaborative information visualization. The table listed below present a set of considerations from a large literature review, combining CSCW and Information Visualization research and from the results of several studies conducted on collaborative systems during my PhD. More details can be found in the referenced papers below.


Here is a video of how co-located collaborative data analysis should not take place.

Collection of Considerations

In order to support more sophisticated interaction than shown in the video above, these are things you should consider when setting up a collaborative environment for data analysis.

ConsiderationAspects to Consider
 Collaborative Environment
Display sizeSocially appropriate work space size per person, establishment of private, group, and storage spaces
Display configurationAccommodation of group's current work practices, tasks, and goals
Input TypeImpact of input type on possible interactions
ResolutionInput and display resolution
 Supporting Social Interaction
CommunicationExplicit data referencing across different representational and viewing contexts, e.g., annotation; implicit awareness cues of changes to the data across different representational and viewing contexts, support clarification, validation, data and strategy discussions with shared artifacts
CoordinationWhen using individual data views, location and rotation as a coordination and communication tool, sharing of visualizations and views, multiple synchronous interactions with shared representations, temporal flexibility of analysis processes, analysis processes within different collaboration styles, awareness of analysis activities and histories to encourage joint work
 Designing Information Visualizations
RepresentationPersonal preferences, multiple representation types, awareness support, appropriateness of representation for work environment and social interaction, integrated reasoning and sensemaking support
PresentationArrangement of data items for group access, providing copies of the same data, accommodation of input methods, compensations for display resolution
ViewInterpretability of data from multiple viewpoints and orientations
InteractionInteractive response rates despite simultaneous interaction, collaborative interaction histories, conflict reduction arising from global changes to data or view, fluid interaction, temporal flexibility of analysis processes, support operation, selection, browsing, and parsing as parallel activities


Most comprehensive summary

Petra Isenberg (2009) Collaborative Information Visualization in Co-located Environments. PhD thesis, University of Calgary, December 2009.   pdf

First published set (more general)

Petra Isenberg and Sheelagh Carpendale (2007) Interactive Tree Comparison for Co-located Collaborative Information Visualization. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings Visualization / Information Visualization 2007), 13(6):1232–1239, November/December 2007.   doi

A refinement of the first published set

Jeffrey Heer, Frank van Ham, Sheelagh Carpendale, Chris Weaver, and Petra Isenberg (2008) Creation and Collaboration: Engaging New Audiences for Information Visualization. In Information Visualization–-Human-Centered Issues and Perspectives, pages 92–133. . Springer Verlag, 2008.   doi

Some additional considerations work vs. public settings

Petra Isenberg, Uta Hinrichs, Mark Hancock, Matthew Tobiasz, and Sheelagh Carpendale (2009) Information Visualization on Interactive Tabletops in Work vs. Public Settings. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Collaborative Visualization on Interactive Surfaces (CoVIS 2009, October 11, 2009, Atlantic City, USA). 2009. Appeared in the Technical Reports series of the Department of Media Informatics of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany in 2010.   pdf
Petra Isenberg, Uta Hinrichs, Mark Hancock, and Sheelagh Carpendale (2010) Digital Tables for Collaborative Information Exploration. In Tabletops–-Horizontal Interactive Displays, pages 387–406. . Springer Verlag, 2010.   doi

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