Bottom-up vs. top-down: trade-offs in efficiency, understanding, freedom and creativity with InfoVis tools

Gonzalo Gabriel Mendez, Uta Hinrichs, Miguel Nacenta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The emergence of tools that support fast-and-easy visualization creation by non-experts has made the benefits of InfoVis widely accessible. Key features of these tools include attribute-level operations, automated mappings, and visualization templates. However, these features shield people from lower-level visualization design steps, such as the specific mapping of data points to visuals. In contrast, recent research promotes constructive visualization where individual data units and visuals are directly manipulated. We present a qualitative study comparing people's visualization processes using two visualization tools: one promoting a top-down approach to visualization construction (Tableau Desktop) and one implementing a bottom-up constructive visualization approach (iVoLVER). Our results show how the two approaches influence: 1) the visualization process, 2) decisions on the visualization design, 3) the feeling of control and authorship, and 4) the willingness to explore alternative designs. We discuss the complex trade-offs between the two approaches and outline considerations for designing better visualization tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17)
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherACM
Pages841-852
ISBN (Print)9781450346559
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2017
EventACM CHI 2017 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Colorado Convention Center, Denver, United States
Duration: 6 May 201711 May 2017
https://chi2017.acm.org/

Conference

ConferenceACM CHI 2017 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDenver
Period6/05/1711/05/17
Internet address

Keywords

  • Information visualization
  • iVoLVER
  • Tableau Desktop
  • Visualization tools
  • Tools for non-experts
  • Visual languages
  • Visual programming
  • Top-down vs bottom-up design
  • Observational studies
  • Visualization novices
  • Constructive visualization

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