Information Visualization

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Information visualization (InfoVis) produces (interactive) visual representations of abstract data to reinforce human cognition and perception; thus enabling the viewer to gain knowledge about the internal structure of the data and causal relationships in it.


The use of computer-supported, interactive, visual representations of abstract data to amplify cognition.
[Card et al., 1998]


Application of information visualization on the computer involves providing means to transform and represent data in a form that allows and encourages human interaction. Data can therefore be analyzed by exploration rather than pure reasoning; users can develop understanding for structures and connections in the data by observing the immediate effects their interaction has upon the visualization.


Visualization of a directory structure using a botanical model

Information visualization is applied in countless areas covering every industry and all tasks where understanding of the intrinsic structure in data is crucial.

Some prominent examples are:

  • Economical/financial analysis
  • Representation of large hierarchies
  • Medical training/assistance
  • Engineering/Physics


  • [Card et al., 1998]: Card, S. and Mackinlay, J. and Shneiderman, B. Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1998.
  • [Voigt, 2002]: Robert Voigt, Classification and Definition of Terms, 2002.

External links