Sensemaking with Visual Analytics – from Theory to Practice
Event date:  November 30, 2015 4:30 PM  to 5:30 PM

Talk Abstract

It is a common assumption that Visual Analytics systems should enable users to make sense of the data presented to them. Nevertheless, it is not yet entirely clear how this can be supported appropriately. There are several theories developed in Cognitive Psychology and HCI which might be adopted to explain such processes, but empirical research in Visual Analytics based on these theories is sometimes not a straightforward process. This talk tries to clarify some issues related to this problem. I will take three theories (graph comprehension, distributed cognition and sensemaking) as examples to illustrate these issues.

The theory of distributed cognition, for example, takes the nature of the cognitive tool which is used for sensemaking into account. This yields rich data on how the design of a visualizations may influence the sensemaking and reasoning processes. On the other hand, it is sometimes difficult to generalize these results because they are highly specific and only relate to the visualization used. Sensemaking and graph comprehension theory, on the other hand, try to explain more general reasoning processes and, therefore, yield more generalizable results.

In general, it can be argued that the theories have specific strengths and weaknesses, and it depends on the research question under investigation which theory can best be used to explain the results of a specific empirical investigation.

Speaker's Bio
Habilitation (Univ.Doz.), Computer Science, Vienna University of Technology, focus on: Human-Computer Interaction, 2002
Doctor of Philosophy (Dr.), Psychology, University of Vienna, focus on: Cognitive Psychology, 1993
Master of Science (Mag.), Information Systems, University of Vienna, focus on: Econometrics,1989
Current position: Associate Professor (Vienna University of Technology)

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Event location:  Universität Stuttgart
Powerwall Room
Allmandring 19
70569  Stuttgart

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