Research Talk: Towards Personalized Visualizations

October 25, 2012
196 Boston Avenue, 4th Floor
Speaker: Alvitta Ottley, Tufts University


In recent years, visualizations have been used as cognitive aids in problem solving, as users come to rely on visualizations to help them solve increasingly difficult problems. While principles of color and perceptual theories are necessary to make good design decisions, by themselves they are not sufficient to guide the design of a visualization for a cognitively complex task. These theories, though fundamental, do not address how users think or how visualizations can be applied as an extension to an individualís cognitive ability.

In cognitive psychology, researchers have shown that individual differences such as personality can significantly impact a userís dexterity using an interface or a tool to solve problems. Still visualizations, like much other software, continue to be designed for a single ideal user. In this talk, I will discuss how a userís personality affects their performance in visualization tools and how we can design personalized visualizations that facilitate efficient knowledge discover for different users.