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Green Image
Issue No. 12 - Dec. (2012 vol. 18)
ISSN: 1077-2626
pp: 2729-2738
M. Sedlmair , Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
A. Frank , Bertrand AG, Munich, Germany
T. Munzner , Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
A. Butz , Univ. of Munich (LMU), Munich, Germany
We present a network visualization design study focused on supporting automotive engineers who need to specify and optimize traffic patterns for in-car communication networks. The task and data abstractions that we derived support actively making changes to an overlay network, where logical communication specifications must be mapped to an underlying physical network. These abstractions are very different from the dominant use case in visual network analysis, namely identifying clusters and central nodes, that stems from the domain of social network analysis. Our visualization tool RelEx was created and iteratively refined through a full user-centered design process that included a full problem characterization phase before tool design began, paper prototyping, iterative refinement in close collaboration with expert users for formative evaluation, deployment in the field with real analysts using their own data, usability testing with non-expert users, and summative evaluation at the end of the deployment. In the summative post-deployment study, which entailed domain experts using the tool over several weeks in their daily practice, we documented many examples where the use of RelEx simplified or sped up their work compared to previous practices.
user centred design, automotive electronics, data visualisation, electronic engineering computing, on-board communications, overlay networks, change management, overlay network specification, network visualization design, automotive engineer, traffic pattern, in-car communication network, data abstraction, logical communication specification, physical network, visual network analysis, social network analysis, visualization tool RelEx, user-centered design process, usability testing, summative evaluation, Data visualization, Change detection algorithms, Network topology, Automotive engineering, Collaboration, Traffic control, design study, Network visualization, change management, traffic routing, traffic optimization, automotive

A. Butz, T. Munzner, A. Frank and M. Sedlmair, "RelEx: Visualization for Actively Changing Overlay Network Specifications," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, vol. 18, no. , pp. 2729-2738, 2012.
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