Materializing data

Notes on collaboration and tangible interfaces with excerpts and additions

  • Ana Jofre
  • Steve Szigeti
  • Sara Diamond
Keywords: Visualization, Data, Cognition, Citizen Engagement, Embodied Interaction, HCI, Tangible Interface, Data Sculpture, Learning

Abstract

The visualization of data elucidates trends and patterns in the phenomena that the data represents, and opens accessibility to understanding complicated human and natural processes represented by data sets. Research indicates that interacting with a visualization amplfies cognition and analysis. A single visualization may show only one facet of the data. To examine the data from multiple perspectives, engaged citizens need to be able to construct their own visualizations from a data set. Many tools for data visualization have responded to this need, allowing non-data experts to manipulate and gain insights into their data, but most of these tools are restricted to the computer screen, keyboard, and mouse. Cognition and analysis may be strengthened even more through embodied interaction with data, whether through data sculpture or haptic and tangible interfaces. We present here the rationale for the design of a tool that allows users to probe a data set, through interactions with graspable (tangible) three-dimensional objects, rather than through a keyboard and mouse interaction. We argue that the use of tangibles facilitates understanding abstract concepts, and facilitates many concrete learning scenarios. Another advantage of using tangibles over screen-based tools is that they foster collaboration, which can promote a productive working and learning environment.

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Published
2016-12-27
How to Cite
Jofre, A., Szigeti, S., & Diamond, S. (2016). Materializing data: Notes on collaboration and tangible interfaces with excerpts and additions. DAT Journal, 1(2), 2-14. https://doi.org/10.29147/2526-1789.DAT.2016v1i2p2-14