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Motivation and Procrastination: Methods for Evaluating Pragmatic Casual Information Visualizations

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2 Author(s)
David W. Sprague ; University of Victoria ; Melanie Tory

For casual users, how do goals and incentives interact with visualization usage patterns? Professional race car drivers are almost exclusively concerned about a car's performance, whereas average car owners might be swayed by fuel efficiency, aesthetics, and even color. Similarly, factors other than performance might motivate casual information visualization (InfoVis) users. Outside of work contexts, visualizations serve as cognitive aids, art, propaganda, and even procrastination aids. Out of curiosity, we asked two women with no computer science training to look at the digg visualizations by Stamen design. To our surprise, comments changed from "sooo cute" and "I like [the] animation" during the first minute to "annoying" and "cute but not practical" less than five minutes later. Motion rapidly went from being appealing and motivating to being distracting and discouraging. Perhaps simply getting eyes on the screen is insufficient. But what makes a visualization successful in informal contexts, and if we do not know, how do we find out?

Published in:

IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 4 )