Bill Wright
8 May 97

Why Viz?


Business Factors


1) Why Use Information Visualization?

2) Successful Visualization Requires Insight into the "Business" Problem



1) Why Use Information Visualization?


Data Intensive Task

People in the Loop

(Human Judgment Required)


Also, Improved Control

(Peel Back the Black Box)


Visual Because itās Efficient Expression.


Information Overload


"Weāre drowning in lots of data, and

we need ways of making sense of it."

÷ VP Operations, Large Bank


Key Issues:

Vast Amounts of Underutilized Data

Time Critical Decisions Hampered

Key Information Difficult to Find


When Not to Use Information Visualization


Data Intensive

Algorithmic Process Provides the "Answer"


Typical Applications


What-If Decision Support

Historical Data Analysis

Monitoring Real-Time Status

Management Reporting


Cost Justifying Information Visualization


Ten to One Payback Required for New Technology Adoption

Leverage the $MMās Invested in Computing Infrastructure

Improved Quality of Mission Critical Decisions


Information Visualization Results


View Complex Data on a Single Screen

Timely, Informed Decisions

Navigate Through More Information,
Faster and With More Comprehension

Improved Return on Information (ROI)



2) Successful Visualization Requires Insight into
the "Business" Problem


Skills Required for Information Visualization


"Business" Analysis

Visual Design

Software Engineering


"Business" Analysis


A clear articulation (i.e. visualization) comes from a clear understanding. The choices made, in the visual portrayal of objects and relationships, need to be motivated, in part, by the nature of the decision or workflow being supported.


Visual Design (re: Business Analysis)


Layout and Representations are important.


Users must see the message, not the medium.

(Even if McLuhan rolls over in his grave.)


Edward Tufte on visual design:

1. Complex ideas communicated with clarity,

precision and efficiency.

2. Present many things in a small space.

3. Encourage data comparison.

4. Reveal data at several levels of detail.

5. Graphical displays should encourage the viewer

to think about the substance.


Requires Insight into the Task Domain


Understand the Business Problem

Analysis of Decisions and Processes

Data, Data Structures, Relationships, Operations.

Explicit, or Implicit.


Task Structures


Finding, Revealing, Adding Structure is Not Easy, But Itās Valuable.

Much Apparently Unstructured Data Does Yield Structure.

Allows Inferences Not About the Data, But About the "Business" Decision.




"Business" Factors:

1) Why Use Information Visualization

2) "Business" Analysis Important


No Information Visualization is Successful
Without Good "Business" Factors.