Research Visualization Alpha

At this point I have read many research articles, and processed 12 of them into the blog to visualization what I’ve learned from each one. Each article is summarized, tagged for the tag cloud, and the thoughts each one provoked are summarized too. But now what? The scientific side of me curiously wants to organize this data into (hopefully) helpful visualizations to better understand it. Here are my attempts.

“Tag Lines”

My first attempt at creating a visualization showing the relationship between the research articles (in orange at the bottom) and the descriptive tags for each article (in grey at the top). Each line connects the article to each of its tags. Each article has its own line color.

I didn’t find this very useful. I can see some patterns, but feel they are the influence of my own interests for the thesis and skewed by the already focused subject I’m researching. “Hardware” connects to many articles; not surprising since I am interested in hardware interfaces. “Stacking” is popular; I may have been too liberal with assigning this tag, especially since it is the focus of my thesis. I am surprised by how many link to “Expressive”.


“Tag Swim Lanes”

Second attempt: sorting an article’s tags into simple swim lanes, and positioning similar swim lanes together. I changed the top-to-bottom order of the rows to try to group the total quantities for each row: top rows have more matches, bottom rows have fewer. This shows a bias towards certain types of research, or a lack of research for various tag keywords. Could these “black holes” be openings for my thesis, to explore an underdeveloped area?


“Tag Swim Lanes v2″

Third attempt: same as previous design, though reordered rows and made logical groupings. I needed better order of the tags, compared to the last design. The order for this one is the same as the “Tag Lines” design above. There was a reason for that order.

  • Body/Mind: related to the mind, emotions, and spatial use of the body to physical represent the mind’s intent.
  • Function: related to use, purpose, function.
  • Space: spatial placement, relationships and positions of objects in 3D space.
  • Temporal: related to time, limited by time, temporary.
  • Physical: related to 3D properties of a device, and actions related to 3D space.


“Tag Swim Lanes v3″

Fourth attempt: same as previous design, but removed multiple rows. Some rows became redundant after thinking about how each one relates to my intended focus. I removed all rows from the Physical section. This wasn’t necessary since I already intend to work within the physical arena, and not in the virtual world of interfaces. This left “Temporal” and “Function” left by themselves.

I have felt a lot of inspiration from Johan Redströms article on Tangled Interaction. He elaborates on how function can take a temporal form and present new functionality, or allow us to discover new functions, through using the device over time. For my own sake, I will group “Temporal” and “Function” together now, to show Function Over Time. I see this as a much larger underdeveloped area that I am excited to explore, especially because of its direct relevance to how I define a SUI.

  1. Thanks, good idea to give the reader an overview of points from articles visually ;)

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