What is Visualization Really for?


Min Chen, Luciano Floridi, Rita Borgo
(Submitted on 24 May 2013)

Whenever a visualization researcher is asked about the purpose of visualization, the phrase “gaining insight” by and large pops out instinctively. However, it is not absolutely factual that all uses of visualization are for gaining a deep understanding, unless the term insight is broadened to encompass all types of thought. Even when insight is the focus of a visualization task, it is rather difficult to know what insight is gained, how much, or how accurate. In this paper, we propose that “saving time” in accomplishing a user’s task is the most fundamental objective. By giving emphasis to saving time, we can establish a concrete metric, alleviate unnecessary contention caused by different interpretations of insight, and stimulate new research efforts in some aspects of visualization, such as empirical studies, design optimisation and theories of visualization.

Subjects: Human-Computer Interaction (cs.HC)
Cite as: arXiv:1305.5670 [cs.HC]
(or arXiv:1305.5670v1 [cs.HC] for this version)