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X.3 May + June 2003
Page: 55
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Authors:
Marisa Campbell

The Craft of Information Visualization, Readings and Reflections

Benjamin B. Bederson and Ben Shneiderman

Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1558609156 $59.95

Information visualization is a rapidly growing field that is emerging from research in human-computer interaction, computer science, graphics, visual design, psychology, and business methods. It has become a major theme during the past ten years for much of the work of the faculty, staff. and students at the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). The Lab’s roots are in human-computer interaction (HCI), but increasingly its attention has focused on information visualization. The reason is clear. The overall theme of HCIL’s work is to improve the experience of people using computers, making that experience more effective and enjoyable. Achieving that goal requires creative designs that enable users to develop control over the computer and, hopefully, attain a sense of mastery. Such fluid and efficient interaction with the computer is often achieved via a high bandwidth of visual interfaces.

Sound, touch, smell, and taste are important, but humans rely mainly on their sense of sight to perceive the world. There is simply more bandwidth and processing power for input through the human eyes than through any other sensual modality. Hence, HCIL’s researchers have repeatedly returned to highly visual and dynamic displays as the best way to solve a surprisingly broad set of problems in an equally broad set of domains.

In contract to scientific visualization, which is primarily concerned with three-dimensional physical objects and processes such as blood flow, tornado formation, and protein structures, information visualization addresses abstract phenomena-stock market movements, social relationships, gene expression levels, manufacturing production monitoring, survey data from political polls, supermarket purchases—which are not always observable as natural physical realities. While both kinds of data sets come from the physical world, instead of dealing with three-dimensional aspects, the users of information visualization tools are interested in finding relationships among variables, discovering similar items, and identifying patterns such as clusters, outliers, and gaps.

The interactive nature of information visualization stems from the use of powerful widgets that enable users to explore patterns, test hypotheses, discover exceptions, and explain what they find to others. Interacting with the data set gives users the chance to rapidly gain an overview, explore subsets, or probe for extreme values. Information visualization tools become telescopes and microscopes that allow users to see phenomena previously hidden.

This book reveals how ideas about information visualization from a prominent research center have evolved and spread. It collects, for the first time, 38 seminal papers on information visualization from the HCIL. Coinciding with the Lab’s 20th anniversary, it presents a coherent body of work from a respected community that has had its share of success stories from innovative research methods to commercial spin-offs. Each chapter contains an introduction that describes the connections among the papers and traces the historical path of their innovations.

Benjamin B. Bederson

Web Bloopers: 60 Common Web Design Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

Jeff Johnson

Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1558608400 $49.95

The DotCom crash of 2000 was a wake-up call, and told us that the Web has far to go before achieving the acceptance predicted for it in ‘95. A large part of what is missing is quality; a primary component of the missing quality is usability. The Web is not nearly as easy to use as it needs to be for the average person to rely on it for everyday information, commerce, and entertainment.

In response to strong feedback from readers of GUI Bloopers calling for a book devoted exclusively to Web design bloopers, Jeff Johnson calls attention to the most frequently occurring and annoying design bloopers from real Web sites he has worked on or researched. Not just a critique of these bloopers and their sites, this book shows how to correct or avoid the blooper and gives a detailed analysis of each design problem.

Key Features

  • New full-color book from the best-selling author of GUI Bloopers.
  • Each blooper is illustrated with a full color screen shot taken from an actual Web site.
  • The author of this book has a strong background in Human-Computer Interaction and User Interface Design.

Usability Evaluation of Online Learning Programs

Claude Ghaoui

Idea Group Publishing, 2003
ISBN: 1591401135 $74.95

Successful use of information and communication technologies depends on usable designs that do not require expensive training, accommodate the needs of diverse users, and are low cost. There is a growing demand and increasing pressure for adopting innovative approaches to the design and delivery of education, hence, the use of online learning (also called E-learning) as a mode of study. This is partly due to the increasing number of learners and the limited resources available to meet a wide range of various needs, backgrounds, expectations, skills, levels, ages, abilities and disabilities. The advances of new technology and communications (WWW, Human Computer Interaction and Multimedia) have made it possible to reach out to a bigger audience around the globe. By focusing on the issues that have impact on the usability of online learning programs and their implementation, Usability Evaluation of Online Learning Programs specifically fills a gap in this area, which is particularly invaluable to practitioners.

User-Centered Web Site Development: A Human-Computer Interaction Approach

Daniel D. McCracken and Rosalee J. Wolfe

Prentice Hall, 2003
ISBN: 0130411612 $60.00

This text addresses Human-Computer Interaction as it relates to Web site design. It stresses principles that can be learned, not just implementation techniques. The text provides a working knowledge of Web design, aimed at creating Web pages and sites that are attractive and user-friendly. In addition, it allows students to become familiar with the concepts and terminology of Web design as a basis for further study.

Key Features

  • Flexible pedagogy-HCI and Web-related material.
  • Gives students exposure to the latest developments in the standards of working professionals.
  • Over 250 review questions and exercises.
  • Allows students to learn by doing; provides instructors with large and small projects for their curriculum.
  • Companion Web site that contains regularly updated teaching material, PowerPoint Slides, revised URLs, and updates to the bibliography.

Sidebar: Book Listings

Designing Information Spaces: The Social Navigation Approach
Kristina Hook, David Benyon, and Alan Munro

Springer Verlag, 2003
ISBN: 1852336617 $69.95

Mobile Usability: How Nokia Changed the Face of the Mobile Phone
Christian Lindholm and Turkka Keinonen
McGraw-Hill Professional, 2003
ISBN: 0071385142 $49.95

Observing the User Experience: A Practioner’s Guide for User Research
Mike Kuniavsky
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1558609237 $44.95

Paper Prototyping: Fast and Simple Techniques for Designing and Refining the User Interface
Carolyn Snyder
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2003
ISBN: 1558608702 $34.95

A Pattern Language for Web Usability
Ian Graham
Addison Wesley Professional, 2003
ISBN: 0201788888 $39.99

Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization
Andy B. King
New Riders Publishing, 2003
ISBN: 0735713243 $39.99

The Virtual
Rob Shields
Routledge Publishing, 2003
ISBN: 0415281814 $17.95

Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion
Oliver Grau
MIT Press, 2003
ISBN: 0262072416 $45.00

©2003 ACM  1072-5220/03/0500  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2003 ACM, Inc.

 

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