Lessons Learned Evaluating Two Decades of Novel Information Visualizations

Mary Czerwinski

In this talk I will review the many number of ways my colleagues and I, especially George Robertson, have chosen to evaluate novel information visualization designs and the lessons we learned from them. Often, paradigms borrowed from Psychology were pivotal in discovering breakthroughs in our designs and guided us forward in our research. In addition, controlling for various variables such as gender, spatial ability, visualization ability, computer experience or gameplay made a huge difference in our findings and subsequent explorations. I will begin by giving an overview of many of our early experiments and then provide a more recent overview of information visualization research currently ongoing at Microsoft Research. Finally, I will close with new, on body and automated methods for tracking emotion, such as frustration, interest and engagement that might provide a new, useful direction for information visualization research.


Mary is a Research Manager at Microsoft Research's VIBE group (Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment). Mary's research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, multitasking, and awareness systems for individuals and groups. Her background is in visual attention and multitasking. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington. Mary was awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award, was inducted into the CHI Academy, and became an ACM Distinguished Scientist in 2010. She is also an adjunct faculty member of the iSchool at the University of Washington.