Challenging visualization with physical representations


Visualizations are often designed to convey quantitative information in a precise and non-ambiguous manner. While extremely useful, this provides little room to account for the transformations, inaccuracies, or gaps in the data. In this talk I present two visualization / physicalization projects that favour contextual relevance and reflection over precision.

1/ In Activity Sculptures we turned personal running data into physical objects that can be used as decoration. I discuss how people related to this sculptures, and how they influenced their running activity.

2/ In vegetal viz we analyze how plants have been used to display data in the arts, design, and HCI. I outline the questions this unconventional material raise for visualization.

I conclude by discussing how data physicalization can provide inspiration for more conventional screen-based interactive visualizations.


Short Biography

Aurélien Tabard is an Associate Professor at Université de Lyon, France. He worked previously at the University of Munich and the IT University of Copenhagen, and graduated from Université Paris Sud. His research focuses on supporting reflection on individual and group activity. It is structured around two broad questions: 1) How can visualization be made more relevant to people's context, and 2) How Activity Based Computing can accommodate ill-defined activities, scaffolded activities and activities spanning across various people, places, devices and time.