Designing for Interactive Dimension Reduction Visual Analytics Tools to Explore High-Dimensional Data

TitleDesigning for Interactive Dimension Reduction Visual Analytics Tools to Explore High-Dimensional Data
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSelf, JZ, Hu, X, House, L, Leman, S, North, C
InstitutionVirginia Tech
CityBlacksburg
TypeTechnical Report
Abstract

Exploring high-dimensional data is challenging. As the number of dimensions in datasets increases, the harder it becomes to discover patterns and develop insights. Dimension reduction algorithms, such as multidimensional scaling, support data explorations by reducing datasets to two dimensions for visualization. Because these algorithms rely on underlying parameterizations, they may be tweaked to assess the data from multiple perspectives. Alas, tweaking can be difficult for users without a strong knowledge base of the underlying algorithms. In this paper, we present principles for developing interactive visual analytic systems that enable users to tweak model parameters directly or indirectly so that they may explore high-dimensional data. To exemplify our principles, we introduce an application that implements interactive weighted multidimensional scaling (WMDS). Our application, Andromeda, allows for both parametric and object-level interaction to provide in-depth data exploration. In this paper, we describe the types of tasks and insights that users may gain with Andromeda. Also, the final version of Andromeda is the result of sequential improvements made to multiple designs that were critiqued by users. With each critique we uncovered design principles of effective, interactive, visual analytic tools. These design principles focus on three main areas: (1) layout, (2) semantically visualizing parameters, and (3) designing the communication between the interface and the algorithm.