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Enhancing the Usability of Complex Visualizations by Making them Interactive: A Study

, , University of Western Ontario, Canada ; , Wesleyan College, United States

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Honolulu, HI, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-73-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


Visualizations can play an important role in learning activities. They encode a wide variety of concepts, structures, processes, and objects to help learners make sense of phenomena and perform intellectual, exploratory work. Despite the intended benefits of visualizations, some of them are inherently complex, and do not lend themselves to be readily explored in their static form. Making such visualizations interactive can potentially enhance their usability—that is, their usefulness and effectiveness. This paper attempts to improve our understanding of how to design interaction for complex visualizations so as to enhance their usability. To this end, a usability study of learners exploring complex 4D mathematical structures was conducted. Preliminary analysis of the results of the study suggests that making complex visualizations interactive can enhance their usability. Three interaction techniques that can potentially support the exploration of complex visualizations are presented and explained.


Sedig, K., Liang, H.N. & Morey, J. (2009). Enhancing the Usability of Complex Visualizations by Making them Interactive: A Study. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2009--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 1021-1029). Honolulu, HI, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved February 19, 2019 from .

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