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Design of Visualizations for Human-Information Interaction: A Pattern-Based Framework

Synthesis Lectures on Visualization

Kamran Sedig​‌
Western University
Paul Parsons​‌
Purdue University


Interest in visualization design has increased in recent years. While there is a large body of existing work from which visualization designers can draw, much of the past research has focused on developing new tools and techniques that are aimed at specific contexts. Less focus has been placed on developing holistic frameworks, models, and theories that can guide visualization design at a general level—a level that transcends domains, data types, users, and other contextual factors. In addition, little emphasis has been placed on the thinking processes of designers, including the concepts that designers use, while they are engaged in a visualization design activity.

In this book we present a general, holistic framework that is intended to support visualization design for human-information interaction. The framework is composed of a number of conceptual elements that can aid in design thinking. The core of the framework is a pattern language—consisting of a set of 14 basic, abstract patterns—and a simple syntax for describing how the patterns are blended. We also present a design process, made up of four main stages, for creating static or interactive visualizations. The 4-stage design process places the patterns at the core of designers’ thinking, and employs a number of conceptual tools that help designers think systematically about creating visualizations based on the information they intend to represent.

Although the framework can be used to design static visualizations for simple tasks, its real utility can be found when designing visualizations with interactive possibilities in mind—in other words, designing to support a human-information interactive discourse. This is especially true in contexts where interactive visualizations need to support complex tasks and activities involving large and complex information spaces. The framework is intended to be general and can thus be used to design visualizations for diverse domains, users, information spaces, and tasks in different fields such as business intelligence, health and medical informatics, digital libraries, journalism, education, scientific discovery, and others. Drawing from research in multiple disciplines, we introduce novel concepts and terms that can positively contribute to visualization design practice and education, and will hopefully stimulate further research in this area.

Table of Contents: Figure Credits / Acknowledgments / Introduction / Background / Conceptual Elements of Framework / Patterns / Blending of Patterns / Human-Information Interaction / Design Process / Application of Framework / Discussion and Summary / References / About the Authors

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Cited by

Hong Li, Kuohsun Wen​‌. (2022) Research on Design of Emergency Science Popularization Information Visualization for Public Health Events-Taking “COVID-19”as an Example. Sustainability 14:7, 4022.
Online publication date: 29-Mar-2022.
Neda Rostamzadeh, Sheikh S. Abdullah, Kamran Sedig, Amit X. Garg, Eric McArthur​‌. (2022) Visual Analytics for Predicting Disease Outcomes Using Laboratory Test Results. Informatics 9:1, 17.
Online publication date: 25-Feb-2022.
Jonathan Demelo, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2022) Interfaces for Searching and Triaging Large Document Sets: An Ontology-Supported Visual Analytics Approach. Information 13:1, 8.
Online publication date: 27-Dec-2021.
Abdelkareem Jaradat, Hanan Lutfiyya, Anwar Haque​‌. (2022) Smart Home Energy Visualizer: A Fusion of Data Analytics and Information Visualization. IEEE Canadian Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering 45:1, 77-87.
Online publication date: 1-Jan-2022.
I. Beros, N. Hlupic, F. Dzapo​‌. (2021) Usage of BI Tools in Analysis of the Tomas Croatia 2019 Survey. 2021 44th International Convention on Information, Communication and Electronic Technology (MIPRO), 1335-1340.
Neda Rostamzadeh, Sheikh S. Abdullah, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2021) Visual Analytics for Electronic Health Records: A Review. Informatics 8:1, 12.
Online publication date: 23-Feb-2021.
Sheikh S. Abdullah, Neda Rostamzadeh, Kamran Sedig, Amit X. Garg, Eric McArthur​‌. (2020) Multiple Regression Analysis and Frequent Itemset Mining of Electronic Medical Records: A Visual Analytics Approach Using VISA_M3R3. Data 5:2, 33.
Online publication date: 29-Mar-2020.
Sheikh S. Abdullah, Neda Rostamzadeh, Kamran Sedig, Amit X. Garg, Eric McArthur​‌. (2020) Visual Analytics for Dimension Reduction and Cluster Analysis of High Dimensional Electronic Health Records. Informatics 7:2, 17.
Online publication date: 27-May-2020.
Amir Haghighati, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2020) VARTTA: A Visual Analytics System for Making Sense of Real-Time Twitter Data. Data 5:1, 20.
Online publication date: 19-Feb-2020.
Anton Ninkov, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2020) The Online Vaccine Debate: Study of a Visual Analytics System. Informatics 7:1, 3.
Online publication date: 23-Jan-2020.
Neda Rostamzadeh, Sheikh S. Abdullah, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2020) Data-Driven Activities Involving Electronic Health Records: An Activity and Task Analysis Framework for Interactive Visualization Tools. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 4:1, 7.
Online publication date: 3-Mar-2020.
Joanna Sleigh, Manuel Schneider, Julia Amann, Effy Vayena​‌. (2020) Visualizing an Ethics Framework: A Method to Create Interactive Knowledge Visualizations From Health Policy Documents. Journal of Medical Internet Research 22:1, e16249.
Online publication date: 14-Jan-2020.
Linda Woodburn, Yalong Yang, Kim Marriott​‌. (2019) Interactive Visualisation of Hierarchical Quantitative Data: An Evaluation. 2019 IEEE Visualization Conference (VIS), 96-100.
Alan M. MacEachren​‌. (2019) (re)Considering Bertin in the age of big data and visual analytics. Cartography and Geographic Information Science 46:2, 101-118.
Online publication date: 12-Oct-2018.
D. Rees, R. S. Laramee​‌. (2019) A Survey of Information Visualization Books. Computer Graphics Forum 38:1, 610-646.
Online publication date: 16-Jan-2019.
Isabelle Sperano, Jacynthe Roberge, Pierre Bénech, Jana Trgalova, Robert Andruchow​‌. 2019. Exploring New Usages of Journey Maps: Introducing the Pedagogical and the Project Planning Journey Maps. Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018), 964-982.
Milka Gesicho, Ankica Babic​‌. 2019. Task-Based Approach Recommendations to Enhance Data Visualization in the Kenya National Health Data Warehouse. World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2018, 467-470.
Oluwakemi Ola, Olha Buchel, Kamran Sedig​‌. 2019. Exploring the Spread of Zika. Healthcare Policy and Reform, 678-702.
Camilo Vieira, Paul Parsons, Vetria Byrd​‌. (2018) Visual learning analytics of educational data: A systematic literature review and research agenda. Computers & Education 122, 119-135.
Online publication date: 1-Jul-2018.
Weidan Du, Zhenyu Cheryl Qian, Paul Parsons, Yingjie Victor Chen​‌. (2018) Personal Web Library: organizing and visualizing Web browsing history. International Journal of Web Information Systems 14:2, 212-232.
Online publication date: 18-Jun-2018.
Oluwakemi Ola, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2018) Discourse with Visual Health Data: Design of Human-Data Interaction. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 2:1, 10.
Online publication date: 20-Mar-2018.
Liam McNabb, Robert S. Laramee​‌. (2017) Survey of Surveys (SoS) ‐ Mapping The Landscape of Survey Papers in Information Visualization. Computer Graphics Forum 36:3, 589.
Oluwakemi Ola, Olha Buchel, Kamran Sedig​‌. (2016) Exploring the Spread of Zika:. International Journal of Disease Control and Containment for Sustainability 1:1, 47-68.
Online publication date: 1-Jan-2016.

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Kamran Sedig
Paul Parsons
human-information interaction
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pattern language
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