Lloyd, David (2009). Evaluating human-centered approaches for geovisualization. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)
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Working with two small group of domain experts I evaluate human-centered approaches to application development which are applicable to geovisualization, following an ISO13407 taxonomy that covers context of use, eliciting requirements, and design. These approaches include field studies and contextual analysis of subjects' context; establishing requirements using a template, via a lecture to communicate geovisualization to subjects and by communicating subjects' context to geovisualization experts with a scenario; autoethnography to understand the geovisualization design process; wireframe, paper and digital interactive prototyping with alternative protocols; and a decision making process for prioritising application improvement. I find that the acquisition and use of real user data is key; that a template approach and teaching subjects about visualization tools and interactions both fail to elicit useful requirements for a visualization application. Consulting geovisualization experts with a scenario of user context and samples of user data does yield suggestions for tools and interactions of use to a visualization designer. The complex and composite natures of both visualization and human-centered domains, incorporating learning from both domains, with user context, makes design challenging. Wireframe, paper and digital interactive prototypes mediate between the user and visualization domains successfully, eliciting exploratory behaviour and suggestions to improve prototypes. Paper prototypes are particularly successful at eliciting suggestions and especially novel visualization improvements. Decision-making techniques prove useful for prioritising different possible improvements, although domain subjects select data-related features over more novel alternative and rank these more inconsistently. The research concludes that understanding subject context of use and data is important and occurs throughout the process of engagement with domain experts, and that standard requirements elicitation techniques are unsuccessful for geovisualization. Engagement with subjects at an early stage with simple prototypes incorporating real subject data and moving to successively more complex prototypes holds the best promise for creating successful geovisualization applications.
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