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Ideas, Papers and Thoughts on the field of Visualization

Posts Tagged ‘keynote

IEEE VAST 2008 – Christian Chabot Keynote

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I think one of my favorite events of the entire Visweek 2008 was the VAST 2008 keynote by the CEO of Tableau Software, Christian Chabot. [Apparently, he blogs too.]

He motivated the audience by making a very strong case for why there is a need to use Visual Analytics software. He basically said that there was a much wider customer base, than one would imagine, for quality visual analytics tool. What was interesting to me was that he said that his definition of a successful visual analytics tool was how widely adopted that tool was. I personally believe that its the best way to make sure that users have the power of visual analytics at their finger tips. 

He basically said that we havent optimized the impact of visual analytics until you help users with their own data. The demo of Tableau was my favorite part, where he would end up interacting with simple datasets to show how easy it was to get insight or just know more about the data. 

I think my favorite quote from the talk was ‘Visual analytics can help people test their hunches even when they lead to nowhere.’ :) This was great since this is exactly the purpose of visualization. The idea of interacting with your data to learn more but also just confirm what you already know. 

He then showed an amazing demo of  presidential donations data from new york city. Comparisons of Obama and McCain showed some wondreful, interesting patterns in parts of new york, like the upper east side and so on. Some of those patterns were expected for those who know the demographics of new york city

Some of the highlights of the talk were: 

- Most analytics tasks dont result in ‘Aha’ discoveries. 

- People dont like to admit they need outside help to make discoveries about their own data. 

- Visualization and Visual Analytics helps people think of what questions to ask. More importantly, it helps them enter the Visual analysis cycle of interact, explore, visualize, obtain insight – rinse and repeat :) 

His most imprtant statement of the keynote speech was that “The number one reason people buy visual analytics software was to save time.” 

I think it was the kind of keynote that makes you think and shakes you up a bit. I agree that we needed to hear some of those words. I particularly enjoyed the talk, since I had mentioned Tableau Software in one of my previous blog posts on ‘Visualizing companies leading the way.’  After listening to the talk, I feel more confident that Tableau will make a big difference in the Visual analytics and business analytics community. If you have anything to say about the keynote, please feel free to add a comment.

Written by alark

October 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Infovis 2008 Keynote

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Visualization in vivo 
Jake Kolojejchick, 
Chief Scientist
Viz, a business of General Dynamics

The InfoVis 2008 was an extremely enjoyable and interesting talk where Jake actually talked about some of the truth that visualization researchers need to here. It was very interesting to hear how he
focused on information-centricity and how focusing on the data and information is critical. 

What most strongly resonated with me was the emphasis on “Visualization-based interaction”. He 
said that visualizations needs to go beyond simply showing information to the user and start focusing on becoming a rich medium for exploration, annotation and sharing. 

Most of the remaining talk focused on how his company had dealt with some of the challenges 
of deploying a visualization software, Command post of the future (CPOF)  where they needed to get real time data to military personnel for facilitate fast decision making and reduce the uncertainty for all the
parties involved. The ability to share and collaborate remotely made it a success and I think it is truly a fascinating visualization story. 

He introduced a concept of collaboration literacy which extends the concept of visual literacy
and verbal literacy. Visual literacy and verbal literacy are well known. Collaboration literacy discusses how we collaborate and how we learn to collaborate, right from simple daily face-to-face meetings to virtual telepresence.

Some of the things that he mentioned that according to me are critical for us visualization researchers are: 

- We need to realize that visualizations are the medium that users use to understand information. 
- Dont make users do extra work. I completely agree with this and I think that Google’s success
has been partly due to this exact reason. For example, now when we try to search for keywords
in Google, they suggest commonly used keywords that will make it easier to search.
- More ways to incorporate self-synchronization where users across the board are able to understand 
the information and are able to synchronize their knowledge with what other users have at that time. 
Alternatively, some annotations and interactions can let one know that the user on the other
side has understand some key concepts and so they are on the same page and start interacting from there on.

Written by alark

October 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm


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