Document Detail

The shaping of information by visual metaphors.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18988973     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The nature of an information visualization can be considered to lie in the visual metaphors it uses to structure information. The process of understanding a visualization therefore involves an interaction between these external visual metaphors and the user's internal knowledge representations. To investigate this claim, we conducted an experiment to test the effects of visual metaphor and verbal metaphor on the understanding of tree visualizations. Participants answered simple data comprehension questions while viewing either a treemap or a node-link diagram. Questions were worded to reflect a verbal metaphor that was either compatible or incompatible with the visualization a participant was using. The results (based on correctness and response time) suggest that the visual metaphor indeed affects how a user derives information from a visualization. Additionally, we found that the degree to which a user is affected by the metaphor is strongly correlated with the user's ability to answer task questions correctly. These findings are a first step towards illuminating how visual metaphors shape user understanding, and have significant implications for the evaluation, application, and theory of visualization.
Caroline Ziemkiewicz; Robert Kosara
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics     Volume:  14     ISSN:  1077-2626     ISO Abbreviation:  IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph     Publication Date:    2008 Nov-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-11-07     Completed Date:  2008-12-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9891704     Medline TA:  IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1269-76     Citation Subset:  IM    
UNC Charlotte.
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MeSH Terms
Biomimetics / methods*
Computer Graphics*
Computer Simulation
Information Dissemination / methods*
Information Storage and Retrieval / methods*
Models, Theoretical*
User-Computer Interface*

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