Infovis 2008 Keynote
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.