Custom Formula-Based Visualizations for Savvy Designers"

Mohammad Amin Kuhail

    Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Rapport / Ph.D.-afhandlingPh.d.-afhandling


    Despite their usefulness in many domains (e.g. healthcare, finance, etc.), custom visualizations remain tedious and hard to implement. It would be advantageous if savvy designers (designers with end-user development skills and much domain knowledge) could refine visualizations to their needs. For instance, it would save time and money if a clinician familiar with spreadsheet formulas could refine a visualization (e.g. the lifelines) rather than hiring a programmer.

    Existing approaches to visualization are one of the two: accessible to savvy designers but limited in customizability, or inaccessible and expressive. For instance, chart tools are easy to use, but support only predefined visualizations, while visualization tools support custom visualizations, but require program-like specifications.

    This thesis presents Uvis, a visualization system that targets savvy designers. With Uvis, designers drag and drop visual objects, set the visual object properties with formulas, and see the result immediately. The formulas are declarative and similar to spreadsheet formulas. The formulas compute the property values and can refer to fields, visual properties, functions, etc.

    This thesis hypothesizes that it is possible to express custom visualizations with spreadsheet-like formulas, and savvy designers can learn to refine the visualizations. The thesis presents four contributions: The first is the expressive power of formulas, substantiated with a collection of custom visualizations. The second contribution is iteratively refining Uvis based on feedback from savvy designers. Uvis provides novel cognitive aids that assist the designers in creating and refining custom visualizations. The third contribution is a usability evaluation of Uvis with savvy designers. The fourth contribution is a usability analysis of several visualization tools including Uvis. The analysis highlights the differences between approaches and argues why Uvis is more suited for custom visualizations.

    The thesis is based on four full scientific papers.
    ForlagIT-Universitetet i København
    Antal sider143
    ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7949-283-7
    StatusUdgivet - 2013


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