Data visualization on tablet devices

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Sadana, Ramik
Stasko, John T.
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Multitouch input is now ubiquitous and the popularity of devices using it has grown tremendously in recent years. The ability to directly touch and manipulate data on the screen without using any intermediary devices is very appealing to people. This has resulted in a new generation of applications that are developed entirely for touch screens. However, one area with only a limited exposure to touch-based input is information visualization. This is in part due to the constraints of designing for touch: the absence of keyboard and mouse, typically small screen size of handheld devices, and the dependence of visualization applications on widgets such as buttons, sliders, menus, and dialog boxes. Touch input raises interesting questions for information visualization: What does it mean for visualization tools to exist and be effective in a cursor-less world? How do visualization techniques designed over the past 30 years adapt to interfaces devoid of mouse-input? Conversely, does touch input lead to increased efficiency or affect the way we understand data with visualizations? Through my work, I address these questions and others. Specifically, I understand, design, and develop capabilities for analyzing data within an information visualization system for tablet devices. I explore appropriate and effective visualization schemes for exposing crucial insights from data on tablets. I also develop new interaction techniques to support the rich set of operations, including advanced capabilities such as multiselection and layout, that people expect from information visualization systems. Through three evaluations, I capture the strengths of the system's utility and usability, both in short-term and long-term usage, and in comparison with a publicly available system.
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