Showing the impact of visualization work is not something we as a community are particularly good at. The Discovery Exhibition at the Information Visualization conferences is a great venue for doing just that. If you have a tool that’s used by real users for real work, submit a brief description by July 19.
We (three readers of this website, my student Caroline Ziemkiewicz, and I) submitted an entry on Parallel Sets, and won the Best Presentation Award. Petra Isenberg is writing a series of postings over at infosthetics on last year’s entries, starting with ours.
This year, they’ve extended the limit for the abstracts to four pages, which makes writing things up a lot easier. Squeezing three short case studies, a brief description of the tool, an abstract, and a few screenshots into two pages was a bit of a challenge last year.
Writing for the discovery exhibition is different than a paper or poster. You want to introduce your tool, but especially show that it has made a real impact. Perhaps the most effective way for this are case studies: show what real users have done with it. Doing this can be a challenge because many companies don’t want to share their data or what they do with it. But there are ways to still do it, with sanitized data, cleaned-up screenshots, and general descriptions of what has been done.
The point is that there needs to be some kind of evidence that the tool is actually useful to real people. Collecting that kind of data is very helpful for showing the value of visualization (beyond academia). So if you have done something useful, submit it!
Yes, more installments of the Protovis Primer are coming. Stay tuned.