Visualization design billboards: Exploring the visualization design space
Designing an appropriate visualization of a dataset is a difficult task, often requiring even experts to spend vast amounts of time engaged in trial and error. Expert and less experienced users alike would benefit from a more intuitive way to explore the space of possible visualizations of a given dataset. In glyph-based visualizations, visualizations are determined by assigning dataset fields to visualization attributes, choosing a color map, and setting a scale factor. The space of possible visualizations includes all combinations of dataset field assignments, color map settings, and scale factor settings. Visualization Billboards strives to provide such a method, allowing the user to explore the visualization design space using a familiar paradigm, that of exploring an unfamiliar city. The user can move through the set of possible visualizations as though it were a three-dimensional space. At each point, a different visualization is displayed on a visualization billboard. Users can retrace their steps to see visualizations he has looked at in the past or move forward through new visualizations. The system uses the Visualization Toolkit (VTK) to generate visualizations. It provides a graphical user interface that allows the user to explore the space. The system significantly simplifies the task of choosing an appropriate visualization for a dataset, allowing a user who is unfamiliar with visualization systems to find a satisfactory image.