Jeffrey Heer : 2009 Plenary Meeting


Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Voyagers and Voyeurs: Interactive Visualization and Social Data Analysis"


In recent years, researchers and entrepreneurs have introduced new online services for data collection and analysis, often relying on interactive visualizations to enable mass interaction with data. These sites represent the first step in what looks to be a growing online phenomenon: social data analysis, that is, collective analysis of data supported by social interaction. Engaging crowds of both experts and non-experts in the process of data exploration has applications ranging from political transparency to business intelligence to citizen science. Achieving this vision, however, will require further innovation in the design of interfaces for collaborative data management and information visualization.

In this talk, I will present a number of novel visualization techniques and software tools for creating and customizing interactive visualizations. I will then discuss our work recasting interactive visualizations as not just analytic tools, but social spaces supporting collective data analysis. I'll discuss the design and implementation of, a web site supporting asynchronous collaboration across a variety of visualization types. User studies of the system reveal emergent patterns of social data analysis, cycles of observation and hypothesis, and the complementary roles of social navigation and data-driven exploration. Time permitting, I will also describe our continuing work on web-based collaborative visualization, including visual navigation cues to enhance collective information foraging and new techniques for collaborative annotation.


Jeffrey Heer is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where his research focuses on human-computer interaction, interactive visualization, and social computing. His work has produced novel visualization techniques for exploring data, software tools that simplify visualization creation and customization, and collaborative analysis systems that leverage the insights of multiple analysts. He is the author of the prefuse and flare open-source visualization toolkits, currently in use by the visualization research community and numerous corporations. Over the years, he has also worked at Xerox PARC, IBM Research, Microsoft Research, and Tableau Software. He holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.