The Elicitation Interview technique: capturing people’s experiences of data representations

Trevor Hogan, Uta Hinrichs, Eva Hornecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Information visualization has become a popular tool to facilitate sense-making, discovery and communication in a large range of professional and casual contexts. However, evaluating visualizations is still a challenge. In particular, we lack techniques to help understand how visualizations are experienced by people. In this paper we discuss the potential of the Elicitation Interview technique to be applied in the context of visualization. The Elicitation Interview is a method for gathering detailed and precise accounts of human experience. We argue that it can be applied to help understand how people experience and interpret visualizations as part of exploration and data analysis processes. We describe the key characteristics of this interview technique and present a study we conducted to exemplify how it can be applied to evaluate data representations. Our study illustrates the types of insights this technique can bring to the fore, for example, evidence for deep interpretation of visual representations and the formation of interpretations and stories beyond the represented data. We discuss general visualization evaluation scenarios where the Elicitation Interview technique may be beneficial and specify what needs to be considered when applying this technique in a visualization context specifically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2579-2593
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number12
Early online date25 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016
EventIEEE VIS 2016 - Maryland, Baltimore, United States
Duration: 23 Oct 201628 Oct 2016


  • Qualitative evaluation
  • Psychophenomenology
  • Phenomenology
  • Elicitation interview technique
  • Thematic analysis


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