RealViz – Interactive Visualizations for Real-Life Systems


Design, implement and evaluate novel visual interfaces to common and complex tasks

VisConstraints - Developing techniques and algorithms for easy specification of graphical layout of data


This work aims to bridge the gap between the goals of the users of information visualization systems and the techniques that are currently available to them for interacting with force-directed layouts. In our latest prototype, we have developed a new version of the prototype, in which objects can be automatically grouped based on the value of one or more properties, with each property representing a different data variable. Applying different constraint strengths to those groups provides an effective means for identifying commonalities and patterns in multivariate data.

W. Lucas and T. Gordon. User Control of Force-Directed Layouts. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Software Technologies, Vol. 1, pp. 91-99, 2016. [pdf] [demo]

Dynamic Task Map (DTM) and DTM with information (DTMi) - a usage-history based alternative to system menus

Dynamic Task Map

The Dynamic Task Map (DTM) provides an interface locating a needed transaction interface via a dynamic, interactive visualization of transactions and the links between them. It is a interactive graph, derived from usage logs. The nodes in the graph correspond to transactions; links connect the active transaction with those that users typically perform in parralel or after the selected one, according to the log data. The size and coloring of each node reflects the overall frequency of the corresponding transaction. Two connected nodes are closer, when one is more likely to co-occur or follow another.

In a user study comparing DTM with a menu-based interface for locating transactions in a large enterprise system, users performed at least twice as fast with DTM and also preferred it to the menu structure. Outcomes from that study, including feedback from participants, led to improvements that were incorporated into a new version of DTM, called DTMi

Babaian, T., Lucas, W., Chircu A. and Power N. Evaluating Interactive Visualizations for Supporting Navigation and Exploration in Enterprise Systems. ICEIS (2) 2016: 368-377 [pdf] [demo]

Dynamic Task Map with information

The Dynamic Task Map with information, or DTMi, is an extension of the DTM interface. DTMi extends the original DTM interface by introducing (a) grouping of tasks by functional module within distinctly colored convex hulls, (b) a dedicated panel on the right side for displaying additional task information that is not communicated by the graph itself, (c) an improved search interface.

Babaian, T., Zhag, R., Lucas, W. DTMi – a New Interface for Informed Navigations. HCII 2017 [pdf] [demo]

Association Map (AM) and AM-L (Large) - a visual interface for examining ternary associations

Association Map

Compared to the traditional, three-column grid-based representation of the data, the Association Map visualization is designed to make it eaier to explore data, focus on individual items and connections and, more exciting to interact with.

AM-L is an extension of the AM interface that has been enhanced with search and interaction features for supporting larger data sets. The new version provides a way to work with large data sets by employing zooming to highlight selected items, while still keeping the visualization to one screen. To facilitate easy observation of the selected items, the selected items from the middle column are also moved to the center of that column. Finally, a partial match search feature was added to facilitate searching. Displaying the same set of data in a tabular format would require multiple pages and the use of a scrolling mechanism in order to locate the needed records. [new AM-L demo]

Babaian, T., Lucas, W., Chircu A. and Power N. Interactive Visualizations for Workplace Tasks, LNBIP, Springer, forthcoming [pdf] [AM demo]

Babaian, T., Lucas, W., Chircu A. and Power N. Extending an Association Map to Handle Large Data Sets, HCII 2017 [pdf]

Facilitating selection of a visual interface

Visual Interface Catalog

A design pattern library serves two major purposes. First, it represents design knowledge about interactive visualization for real-world systems, and second, it provides a context-dependent way for the designer to explore and search the library to find the appropriate design patterns. We aim to improve on the existing models of organizing a design pattern library by providing an adaptive mechanism that takes into consideration various contextual elements, such as problem to be solved, context, examples of solutions, reasons why solution is appropriate, and related design patterns. In our model, each design pattern is internally described using ontological relations similar to the semantic web. Using these relations and the designer’s behavioral pattern, the library can compute in a flexible and context-specific.

Hübscher, R., Carter, N.