Toward a deeper understanding of the role of interaction in information visualization

IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph. Nov-Dec 2007;13(6):1224-31. doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2007.70515.


Even though interaction is an important part of information visualization (Infovis), it has garnered a relatively low level of attention from the Infovis community. A few frameworks and taxonomies of Infovis interaction techniques exist, but they typically focus on low-level operations and do not address the variety of benefits interaction provides. After conducting an extensive review of Infovis systems and their interactive capabilities, we propose seven general categories of interaction techniques widely used in Infovis: 1) Select, 2) Explore, 3) Reconfigure, 4) Encode, 5) Abstract/Elaborate, 6) Filter, and 7) Connect. These categories are organized around a user's intent while interacting with a system rather than the low-level interaction techniques provided by a system. The categories can act as a framework to help discuss and evaluate interaction techniques and hopefully lay an initial foundation toward a deeper understanding and a science of interaction.