Authors: Kristin Cook, Alex Endert, Nicholas Cramer, Joe Bruce, David Israel, Michael Wolverton, Edwin Russell Burtner Russ Burtner
Abstract: Visual data analysis is composed of a collection of cognitive actions and tasks to decompose, internalize, and recombine data to produce knowledge and insight. Visual analytic tools provide interactive visual interfaces to data to support discovery and sensemaking tasks, including forming hypotheses, asking questions, and evaluating and organizing evidence. Myriad analytic models can be incorporated into visual analytic systems at the cost of increasing complexity in the analytic discourse between user and system. Techniques exist to increase the usability of interacting with analytic models, such as inferring data models from user interactions to steer the underlying models of the system via semantic interaction, shielding users from having to do so explicitly. Such approaches are often also referred to as mixed-initiative systems. Sensemaking researchers have called for development of tools that facilitate analytic sensemaking through a combination of human and automated activities. However, design guidelines do not exist for mixed-initiative visual analytic systems to support iterative sensemaking. In this paper, we present candidate design guidelines and introduce the Active Data Environment (ADE) prototype, a spatial workspace supporting the analytic process via task recommendations invoked by inferences about user interactions within the workspace. ADE recommends data and relationships based on a task model, enabling users to co-reason with the system about their data in a single, spatial workspace. This paper provides an illustrative use case, a technical description of ADE, and a discussion of the strengths and limitations of the approach.