The Eyes Have It: User Interfaces for Information Visualization

EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

pic of Ben Shneiderman

Ben Shneiderman
Professor, Department of Computer Science and
Founding Director, Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park

Wednesday, October 11, 2000
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.


Human perceptual skills are remarkable, but largely underutilized by current graphical user interfaces. The next generation of animated GUIs and visual data mining tools can provide users with remarkable capabilities if designers follow the Visual Information-Seeking Mantra:

But this is only a starting point in the path to understanding the rich set of information visualizations that have been proposed. Two other landmarks are:

and are shown in the FilmFinder, Visible Human Explorer (for National Library of Medicine's anatomical data), NASA EOSDIS (for environmental data), LifeLines (for medical records and personal histories), Spotfire (commercial multidimensional visualization tool), and the Snap-Together Visualization tool.

As a guide to research, information visualizations can be categorized into 7 datatypes (1-, 2-, 3-dimensional data, temporal and multi-dimensional data, and tree and network data) and 7 tasks (overview, zoom, filter, details-on-demand, relate, history, and extract). Research directions include algorithms for rapid display update with millions of data points, strategies to explore vast multi-dimensional spaces of linked data, and design of advanced user controls.


Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institutes for Advanced Computer Studies and for Systems Research, all at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Shneiderman is the author of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (third edition 1998), Addison-Wesley Publishers, Reading, MA. His current work on information visualization has led to a commercial product called Spotfire. A collection of 47 key papers with extensive commentary - Using Vision to Think - appeared in January 1999 (with S. Card and J. Mackinlay).

Ben Shneiderman is on the Board of Directors of Spotfire Inc. and has been on the Editorial Advisory Boards of nine journals. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1996 and was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Computing (ACM) in 1997.

Ben Shneiderman
Department of Computer Science
College Park, MD 20742

(301) 405-2680 phone
(301) 405-6707 fax