Authors: Uta Hinrichs, Holly Schmidt, Sheelagh Carpendale
Abstract: Digital information displays are becoming more common in public spaces such as museums, galleries, and libraries. However, the public nature of these locations requires special considerations concerning the design of information visualization in terms of visual representations and interaction techniques. We discuss the potential for, and challenges of, information visualization in the museum context based on our practical experience with EMDialog, an interactive information presentation that was part of the Emily Carr exhibition at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary. EMDialog visualizes the diverse and multi-faceted discourse about this Canadian artist with the goal to both inform and provoke discussion. It provides a visual exploration environment that offers interplay between two integrated visualizations, one for information access along temporal, and the other along contextual dimensions. We describe the results of an observational study we conducted at the museum that revealed the different ways visitors approached and interacted with EMDialog, as well as how they perceived this form of information presentation in the museum context. Our results include the need to present information in a manner sufficiently attractive to draw attention and the importance of rewarding passive observation as well as both short- and longer term information exploration.