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Human-Centered Approaches in Geovisualization Design: Investigating Multiple Methods Through a Long-Term Case Study
Dec. 2011 (vol. 17 no. 12)
pp. 2498-2507
David Lloyd, giCentre, City University London
Jason Dykes, giCentre, City University London
Working with three domain specialists we investigate human-centered approaches to geovisualization following an ISO13407 taxonomy covering context of use, requirements and early stages of design. Our case study, undertaken over three years, draws attention to repeating trends: that generic approaches fail to elicit adequate requirements for geovis application design; that the use of real data is key to understanding needs and possibilities; that trust and knowledge must be built and developed with collaborators. These processes take time but modified human-centred approaches can be effective. A scenario developed through contextual inquiry but supplemented with domain data and graphics is useful to geovis designers. Wireframe, paper and digital prototypes enable successful communication between specialist and geovis domains when incorporating real and interesting data, prompting exploratory behaviour and eliciting previously unconsidered requirements. Paper prototypes are particularly successful at eliciting suggestions, especially for novel visualization. Enabling specialists to explore their data freely with a digital prototype is as effective as using a structured task protocol and is easier to administer. Autoethnography has potential for framing the design process. We conclude that a common understanding of context of use, domain data and visualization possibilities are essential to successful geovis design and develop as this progresses. HC approaches can make a significant contribution here. However, modified approaches, applied with flexibility, are most promising. We advise early, collaborative engagement with data – through simple, transient visual artefacts supported by data sketches and existing designs – before moving to successively more sophisticated data wireframes and data prototypes.

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Index Terms:
Evaluation, geovisualization, context of use, requirements, field study, prototypes, sketching, design.
David Lloyd, Jason Dykes, "Human-Centered Approaches in Geovisualization Design: Investigating Multiple Methods Through a Long-Term Case Study," IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 2498-2507, Dec. 2011, doi:10.1109/TVCG.2011.209
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