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List of Influences: Colin Ware

Several lists of influences reference work by Colin Ware, mostly of course his book Information Visualization: Perception for Design. It therefore makes sense to ask an influencer of influencers about his influences. As it turns out, there are some vicious circles here, with the influenced influencing the influencers back.

Colin has degrees in both computer science and perceptual psychology. In addition to that, he also worked as an artist for three years. So he clearly brings a unique and interesting perspective to visualization. He is the director of the Data Visualization Research Lab (part of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping) at the University of New Hampshire.

  • Alfred L. Yarbus, Eye Movements and Vision. Plenum, 1967. I read this book in 1974 and it has colored my thinking ever since.. Among other things it describes how people move their eyes differently depending on what they are looking for in a painting. A precursor the ‘active vision’ movement in perceptual theory. Active vision is central to my forthcoming book ‘Visual Thinking’.
  • Stephen E. Palmer, Vision Science: Photons to Phenomenology. MIT Press, 1999. This is a place-holder for the thousands of basic perception papers I have read over the years. They, collectively, are my major influence.
  • Christopher Wickens, Engineering Psychology and Human Performance. Prentice Hall, 1984. The HCI track in Computer Science and the HCI track in Engineering seem to form parallel universes with little in the way of cross citation. This book turned me on to the Engineering side.
  • Gunter Wyszeck, W. S. Stiles, Color Science. Wiley, 1982. Remains one of the bibles of color research.
  • Stuart K. Card, Thomas P. Moran, and Allen Newell, The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983. Still the only book that treats HCI as a coherent science of cognition. It's time we had a new edition.
  • Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press, 1983. A must for anyone interested in good visual design.
  • Kim M. Fairchild, Steven E. Poltrock, and George W. Furnas, SemNet: Three-Dimensional Graphic representation of large knowledge bases. In Raymond Guindon (ed), Cognitive science and its applications for human-computer interaction, pp. 201-233, Lawrence Erlbaum, 1988. Although I do not believe the 3D representations of graphs is the way to go, trying to understand why this is the case has been constructive.
  • Tamara Munzner, François Guimbretiere, George Robertson, Constellation: a visualization tool for linguistic queries for MindNet. Proceedings Information Visualization, pp. 132-135, IEEE CS Press, 1999. This is the way to go.
  • Robert Spence and Lisa Tweedie, The attribute explorer: Information synthesis via exploration. Interacting with Computers, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 137-146, 1998. This and other papers by Bob Spence and his group show how sophisticated interactive visualization can be coupled to analytic computing tools. A precursor to what has come to be called Visual Analytics.
  • Christopher Ahlberg, Christopher Williamson, Ben Shneiderman, Dynamic Queries for Information Exploration: An Implementation and Evaluation, Proceedings of ACM CHI, pp. 619-626, 1992. One of the first papers to clearly state the importance of tight coupling between the interface and the data.

Posted by Robert Kosara on June 16, 2007. Filed under influences.