Authors: Liz Marai
Abstract: Although visualization design models exist in the literature in the form of higher-level methodological frameworks, these models do not present a clear methodological prescription for the domain characterization step. This work presents a framework and end-to-end model for requirements engineering in problem-driven visualization application design. The framework and model are based on the activity-centered design paradigm, which is an enhancement of human-centered design. The proposed activity-centered approach focuses on user tasks and activities, and allows an explicit link between the requirements engineering process with the abstraction stage—and its evaluation—of existing, higher-level visualization design models. In a departure from existing visualization design models, the resulting model: assigns value to a visualization based on user activities; ranks user tasks before the user data; partitions requirements in activity-related capabilities and nonfunctional characteristics and constraints; and explicitly incorporates the user workflows into the requirements process. A further merit of this model is its explicit integration of functional specifications, a concept this work adapts from the software engineering literature, into the visualization design nested model. A quantitative evaluation using two sets of interdisciplinary projects supports the merits of the activity-centered model. The result is a practical roadmap to the domain characterization step of visualization design for problem-driven data visualization. Following this domain characterization model can help remove a number of pitfalls that have been identified multiple times in the visualization design literature.