HCI International 2017
Vancouver, Canada, 9 - 14 July 2017
Vancouver Convention Centre
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T22: Interacting with Visualizations: A Cognitive Activity, Task, and Action Framework

Tuesday, 11 July 2017, 13:30 – 17:30

Kamran Sedig (short bio)
Department of Computer Science, Western University, Canada

Paul Parsons (short bio)
Department of Computer Graphics Technology, Purdue University, USA



The objective of this tutorial is to provide attendees with a powerful conceptual framework to help with interaction design for visualizations. We will discuss some empirical studies that have implications for design. We will also identify a number of principles and guidelines that can be used in the design and evaluation of interactive visualizations. The attendees will learn how to design interaction and interactivity in the context of performing cognitive activities with visual data.

Content and Benefits:

Visualizations allow users to engage with data and concepts to perform cognitive tasks and activities such as analyzing climate change patterns, making sense of public health data, selecting machine learning models, and interpreting financial data. Data and concepts underlying visualizations often have deep, hidden, latent, and layered meaning and structure. Making visualizations interactive is imperative for supporting cognitive activities. In other words, visualization tools should be designed such that users can engage in an ongoing discourse with the underlying information as they carry out different tasks.

In this tutorial, we will discuss the relationships between cognitive activities, tasks, and interactions in the context of working with visualizations. We will present several components of EDIFICE to help with the systematic design of interactions for visualizations. Some topics that will be covered include: 1) the ontological aspects of interaction—e.g., what interactions exist, at what level of abstraction interactions can be identified and characterized, what properties of individual interactions can be identified, and how interactions can be categorized; 2) the operational aspects of interaction—e.g., how interactions can and should be put into operation; and 3) the hierarchical relationships among cognitive activities, tasks, and actions.

Target Audience:

Researchers, graduate students, and industry practitioners who are interested in creating highly interactive visualizations to analyze and interpret data in different domains--e.g., health informatics, scientific exploration, and data analytics.

Brief Biographical sketches

Kamran Sedig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Faculty of Information Studies at Western University. He received his B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from Concordia University, his M.Sc. in Computer Science from McGill University, and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from The University of British Columbia. Sedig's research is concerned with interactive technologies and environments that support how people work with data/information, particularly interactive visual tools that support the execution of information-based, data- intensive cognitive activities. He specializes in human-centered computing, human-data interaction, visual analytics, human-computer interaction, high-interaction visual interfaces, and cognition.
Paul Parsons is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University. He received his Bachelor degree in computing and cognitive science from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and his Ph.D. in computer science from Western University in London, Ontario. Paul subsequently worked as a postdoc with IBM Research in Canada, developing a visual analytics platform for genomics applications. His research and teaching interests span many disciplines including human-computer interaction, information visualization, applied cognition, user experience design, and learning technologies. He specializes in human-centered design of interactive technology, with a focus on human cognition, visual interfaces, and interaction design.

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