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Research article2010Peer reviewed

On the role of visual references in collaborative visualization

Winkler, Petterson Lars; Kjellin, Andreas; Lind, Mats; Seipel, Stefan


Multi-Viewer Display Environments (MVDE) provide unique opportunities to present personalized information to several users concurrently in the same physical display space. MVDEs can support correct 3D visualizations to multiple users, present correctly oriented text and symbols to all viewers and allow individually chosen subsets of information in a shared context. MVDEs aim at supporting collaborative visual analysis, and when used to visualize disjoint information in partitioned visualizations they even necessitate collaboration. When solving visual tasks collaboratively in a MVDE, overall performance is affected not only by the inherent effects of the graphical presentation but also by the interaction between the collaborating users. We present results from an empirical study where we compared views with lack of shared visual references in disjoint sets of information to views with mutually shared information. Potential benefits of 2D and 3D visualizations in a collaborative task were investigated and the effects of partitioning visualizations both in terms of task performance, interaction behavior and clutter reduction. In our study of a collaborative task that required only a minimum of information to be shared, we found that partitioned views with a lack of shared visual references were significantly less efficient than integrated views. However, the study showed that subjects were equally capable of solving the task at low error levels in partitioned and integrated views. An explorative analysis revealed that the amount of visual clutter was reduced heavily in partitioned visualization, whereas verbal and deictic communication between subjects increased. It also showed that the type of the visualization (2D/3D) affects interaction behavior strongly. An interesting result is that collaboration on complex geo-time visualizations is actually as efficient in 2D as in 3D

Published in

Information Visualization
2010, Volume: 9, number: 2, pages: 98-114

UKÄ Subject classification

Information Science

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