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Multiple-view visualizations are useful for finding patterns in complex data sets, but little research has been done on how they are used. We performed a controlled experiment to study cognitive strategies and context switching by using a combination of visualizations and different task types as independent variables, and collecting qualitative and quantitative data. To collect the data, paper-based tests, logging of participants' interactions, eye-tracking, think-aloud techniques, and video recordings were used. Unlike suggestions in the literature, our results show that when considering dual-view visualizations, the time cost for context switching may not be significant, and similar visualizations may actually cause more interference. Furthermore, orthogonal combinations appear to aid users in recognizing patterns. Focusing attention and analogical reasoning on spatial relationships are important cognitive abilities as well.
Date of Conference: 15 July 2003