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

Color of Emotions

Color of Emotions

Led by: Mahmood Jasim

Online civic discussion platforms supplement face-to-face conversations while enabling a larger number of people to participate. To understand the public’s perspectives on civic issues, civic leaders are keen to learn people’s’ emotional stances. However, online platforms deprive the civic leaders of this vital insight due to the lack of appropriate mechanisms to convey non-verbal communications, including emotional responses. Moreover, discrete emotion categories are heavily dependent on the online discussion contexts and an agreed-upon set of emotions in the online civic discussion domain is still missing. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of consensus in ways to visualize emotions. In this work, our goal is to investigate and identify a set of emotions suitable for portraying emotional responses in online civic discussions, based on our interviews with civic leaders.

If you are interested in working on or learning more about this project, please contact Mahmood Jasim at mjasim@cs.umass.edu

Visualization of Differentially Private Data (VDPD)

Visualization of Differentially Private Data (VDPD)

Led by: Ali Sarvghad, Narges Mahyar
Current team: Mohammad Hadi Nezhad
Investigating Visual Analysis of Differentially Private Data

Differential privacy (DP) is an emerging technique for protecting sensitive data. This project investigates the principles of visual data exploration under differential privacy. In particular, we aim to understand if and how empirical visualization knowledge can be extended and adapted under DP.

If you are interested in working on or learning more about this project, please contact Ali Sarvghad at asarv@cs.umass.edu

Creative-Pad

Creative-Pad

Led by: Narges Mahyar
On Two Desiderata for Creativity Support Tools

Creative-Pad is designed initially as a tool to help creative directors in an advertising agency to come up with new ideas to create an advertisement for their clients. These directors are often given a one-line brief describing a client product or service. For example, the sentence, “A car with more family space”, would describe a client’s new product which is a car targeted for family. The creative directors would have to design an advertisement suitable for promoting this product. They will need lots of ideas. Creative-Pad works by tapping into the internet as a rich source of information about all things. It takes in one or more keywords from the initial sentence and automatically searches the internet to retrieve any related information. It then processes the search results to extract interesting words and sentences. These words and sentences are then “beamed” in front of the creative directors to stimulate their thoughts for the new advertisement. An interface was specially designed to encourage creative thinking.

Actenum

Actenum

Led by: Ali Sarvghad

In oil and gas industry, upstream operations have large complex schedules. Creating and maintain these large schedules requires expertise and tool support. The interconnected nature of many activities makes changing/updating/optimizing schedules a sensitive task. For instance, a small change in a single activity duration can large impacts on schedule duration and operational costs. In this project, we designed a visual solution to assist schedulers in understanding the identity (what changed) and magnitude (the effect size) on a schedule from different angles.

Footprint & Footprint-II

Footprint & Footprint II

Led by: Ali Sarvghad
Visualizing Dimension Coverage to Support Exploratory Analysis

Footprint-II, a visual analysis history tool, was built to support coordination between analysts who worked in a different time/different place setting. The tool visualized the history of prior data explorations from three distinct angles: coverage of dimensions (e.g. Sales, Profit, Inventory Cost), coverage of data values, and the branching structure of the analysis. Our evaluation of this technique showed significant improvement in analysis coordination. Users of the tool better identified prior coverage by other and showed a greater focus on uninvestigated aspects of data.

Avant-Garde

Avant-Garde

Led by: Ali Sarvghad

Avant-Garde is an online platform for multi-faceted visual analysis of HIV/AIDS data. This tool enables clinicians to explore heterogeneous HIV/AIDS data to understand the phylogenetic, demographic, geographic and temporal characteristics and relationships in data. Various coordinated views represent data from different angles. Brushing-and-linking and dynamic filtering enable users to quickly discover the hidden relationships in data. This research a collaboration between faculties of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Embedded Merge & Split

Embedded Merge & Split

Led by: Ali Sarvghad
Embedded Merge & Split: Visual Adjustment Of Data Grouping

This project investigates the use of novel and intuitive interaction techniques to support adaptive binning and grouping of data at the GUI level. Currently, exploratory data analysis tools only support the indirect manipulation of binning and grouping through interaction with various menus and sub-menus. We are investigating embedded interactions that enable a user to directly manipulate these criteria through interaction with graphical elements of a visualization.

Revisiting Du Bois

Revisiting Du Bois’ Abolitionist Visualizations

2 rows of 7 visualizations are shown: The top row is made from new data, and the bottom row was made in 1900 by W.E.B. Du Bois

Led by: Andrew Cunningham, Alyx Burns, and Narges Mahyar
Looking to the Past to Visualize the Present: Revisiting W.E.B. Du Bois’ Abolitionist Visualizations
Talk

Amidst growing civil unrest in the United States, we are seeing a new wave of abolitionist thought, which challenges us to look at systems of historic oppression and imagine how we can fundamentally restructure them to bring about an equitable justice. In this poster, we revisit visualizations made in 1900 by sociologist and civil rights activist, W.E.B. Du Bois to help us view the modern state of race in America through a historical abolitionist lens. The juxtaposition of stylistically similar charts made over 100 years apart reveals that while America has made progress toward racial justice in some areas, there is still work to be done. We call upon the visualization community to highlight the experiences of marginalized people and to take part in visualizing data related to the pervasiveness of racism.

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