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Title: From tool to instrument : an experiential analysis of interacting with information visualization
Author: Alsaud, Sara Faisal Bander
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 0433
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Information Visualizations (InfoVis) are tools that represent huge amount of abstract data visually on a computer screen. These tools are not reaching the users since constituents of good InfoVis design are still an unknown. In this thesis I argue that good design is one that delivers positive experiences due to the subjectivity of the knowledge gaining processes. Hence, what constitutes a positive experience is the focus of this research. The application domain chosen was the Academic Literature Domain (ALD). ALD InfoVis tools exist however they do not cater for users' requirements or interface usability, both of which are crucial for a better experience. As a result, an ALD InfoVis tool was created following a User Centred Design (UCD) approach, starting with requirements and ending with usability. The requirements were first generated based on a qualitative study from which it became clear that researchers equate authors with their publications and position them in terms of the ideas they portray. Based on this, the tool was designed and implemented. The tool's usability was then evaluated through a set of low and high level tasks. Low-level tasks target the visual syntax whereas high-level tasks tap into the generated semantics. The latter allowed for subjective reasoning and interaction, and were therefore used as the basis of the experiential study. The experiential study captured users' experiences by relying on a Grounded Theory (GT) analysis. This study resulted in the generation of a base theory of InfoVis interaction that properly fitted within the context of the instrumental genesis theoretical framework which argues for the design of instruments not tools, where instruments are mental appropriations of tools. The theoretical approach applied by this research has value across InfoVis even if not tailored for evaluation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available