Framework for Open Civic Design

Framework for Open Civic Design

Led by: Brandon Reynante, Steven P. Dow, and Narges Mahyar

Related Papers:
PDF “A Framework for Open Civic Design: Integrating Public Participation, Crowdsourcing, and Design Thinking”

Civic problems are often too complex to solve through traditional top-down strategies. Various governments and civic initiatives have explored more community-driven strategies where citizens get involved with defining problems and innovating solutions. While certain people may feel more empowered, the public at large often does not have accessible, flexible, and meaningful ways to engage. Prior theoretical frameworks for public participation typically offer a one-size-fits-all model based on face-to-face engagement and fail to recognize the barriers faced by even the most engaged citizens. In this article, we explore a vision for open civic design where we integrate theoretical frameworks from public engagement, crowdsourcing, and design thinking to consider the role technology can play in lowering barriers to large-scale participation, scaffolding problem-solving activities, and providing flexible options that cater to individuals’ skills, availability, and interests. We describe our novel theoretical framework and analyze the key goals associated with this vision: (1) to promote inclusive and sustained participation in civics; (2) to facilitate effective management of large-scale participation; and (3) to provide a structured process for achieving effective solutions. We present case studies of existing civic design initiatives and discuss challenges, limitations, and future work related to operationalizing, implementing, and testing this framework.

Making the Invisible Visible

Making the Invisible Visible

Led by: Alyx Burns

Related Papers:
PDF Making the Invisible Visible: Risks and Benefits of Disclosing Metadata in Visualization
Vis4Good Talk

Accompanying a data visualization with metadata may benefit readers by facilitating content understanding, strengthening trust, and providing accountability. However, providing this kind of information may also have negative, unintended consequences, such as biasing readers’ interpretations, a loss of trust as a result of too much transparency, and the possibility of opening visualization creators with minoritized identities up to undeserved critique. To help future visualization researchers and practitioners decide what kinds of metadata to include, we discuss some of the potential benefits and risks of disclosing five kinds of metadata: metadata about the source of the underlying data; the cleaning and processing conducted; the marks, channels, and other design elements used; the people who directly created the visualization; and the people for whom the visualization was created. We conclude by proposing a few open research questions related to how to communicate metadata about visualizations.

If you are interested in working on or learning more about this project, please contact Alyx Burns at alyxanderbur@cs.umass.edu

Designing with Pictographs

Designing with Pictographs

A set of 8 infographics in two rows. Each row of charts appear identical in layout, text, and color, except the top row uses small symbols in place of the more traditional blocky shapes of the lower charts.
How do infographics with pictograph arrays influence understanding when compared to those that use geometric areas? The figure above displays 4 of the 6 pairs of charts evaluated in this study. Each pair consists of a chart using a pictograph array to encode a part-to-whole relationship (upper row) and a chart using a geometric area to encode the same information (lower row).

Led by: Alyx Burns

Related Papers:
PDF Designing with Pictographs: Envision Topics without Sacrificing Understanding

Past studies have shown that when a visualization uses pictographs to encode data, they have a positive effect on memory, engagement, and assessment of risk. However, little is known about how pictographs affect one’s ability to understand a visualization, beyond memory for values and trends. We conducted two crowdsourced experiments to compare the effectiveness of using pictographs when showing part-to-whole relationships. In Experiment 1, we compared pictograph arrays to more traditional bar and pie charts. We tested participants’ ability to generate high-level insights following Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives via 6 free-response questions. We found that accuracy for extracting information and generating insights did not differ overall between the two versions. To explore the motivating differences between the designs, we conducted a second experiment where participants compared charts containing pictograph arrays to more traditional charts on 5 metrics and explained their reasoning. We found that some participants preferred the way that pictographs allowed them to envision the topic more easily, while others preferred traditional bar and pie charts because they seem less cluttered and faster to read. These results suggest that, at least in simple visualizations depicting part-to-whole relationships, the choice of using pictographs has little influence on sensemaking and insight extraction. When deciding whether to use pictograph arrays, designers should consider visual appeal, perceived comprehension time, ease of envisioning the topic, and clutteredness.

If you are interested in working on or learning more about this project, please contact Alyx Burns at alyxanderbur@cs.umass.edu

Mahmood Jasim was awarded a Computing for Common Good Fellowship – Congratulations, Mahmood!

Mahmood Jasim was awarded a Computing for Common Good Fellowship by UMass CICS to develop a tool for inclusive public input collection and analysis.

Mahmood Jasim and Professor Narges Mahyar will work with the town of Amherst officials to design and develop CommunityClick-virtual — an online collaborative tool that combines machine learning, data visualization, and citizensourcing technology for inclusive public input collection and analysis. The project will enable people from all social backgrounds to equitably share their opinions on civic issues and allow the town officials to make sense of large-scale public input to inform themselves prior to making critical policy decisions.

Welcome to our 8 new lab members who joined this Fall!

The HCI-VIS lab is delighted to welcome 8 new members this fall, including 2 post-docs: Mennatullah Hendawy and Zhiqiu Jiang and 6 PhD students: Hamza Elhamdadi, Aimen Gaba, Prateek Mantri, Mashrur Rashik, Mahsa Sahebdel Alamdari, and Zack While.

We will additionally be joined by Swapna Joshi, who will begin her Post-Doc in the Spring.

“Designing with Pictographs” to appear in TVCG

A new paper by lab members Alyx Burns, Dr. Cindy Xiong, and Dr. Narges Mahyar was accepted for publication in TVCG. The paper, titled “Designing with Pictographs: Envision Topics without Sacrificing Understanding,” examines the effects of replacing abstract shapes in traditional charts and graphs with pictograph arrays. They found that the pictographs had no impact on participant understanding, but impacted participants’ experience.

You can find a PDF of the paper on our website.