EXERCISE 20.5 [extra - not in book]
(Cross-refer to Chapter 19) You have been commissioned by a pharmaceuticals company to advise on the use of advanced visualisation techniques in their company. Suggest possible techniques available for the following:
(i) Visualising their organization chart, which consists of divisions in several countries across the world, with departments, sections and workgroups in each.
(ii) Visualising fluid flows within chemical mixing vats.
(iii) A large database of chemicals with
(iv) Describe how multi-user VR could be used with the above and any problems that might arise.
answer available for tutors only
(i) Description of cone trees or other three-dimensional method for hierarchy visualization
(ii) Could talk about ways of using VR techniques such as virtual bubble streams similar to the virtual windtunnel. Problems of visualising the inside of solid 3D objects may be considered and the use of time and interaction to view these in a similar fashion to the Visible Human Body. May also discuss the use of visualisations of the mapping between input conditions and outputs using sliders and coloured histograms as in Influence Explorer.
(iii) Various techniques may be suggested here including traditional charts and histograms (students may like to see 'dancing histograms' linked from chapter 20 on the textbook's web site www.hcibook.com/e3/chaps/ch20/links/). Some students may have seen the 'slice and dice' interfaces used for data-mining. They can also consider various ways of mapping multi-dimensional data into 2 or 3 dimensions (neural networks, simulated gravity, multi-dimensional scaling) and may refer to the techniques used in the web-page visualisations based on 'similarity' (section 19.3.5).
(iv) Expecting mention of avatars, need for 'pointing', problems of different perspectives including visualisation of text labels; would expect some discussion of mutual awareness and perhaps benefits of interaction with shared objects.