Visual Information Foraging on the Desktop

Knowledge workers, such as scientists, journalists, or consultants, adaptively seek, gather, and consume information. Initially, knowledge workers may not even know what exactly they are looking for. Only after investigating more and more information, they develop a more concrete mental picture. These “information foraging” and “sensemaking” processes are often inefficient as existing user interfaces provide limited possibilities to combine information from various sources and different formats into a common knowledge representation. The goal of this project was to facilitate such knowledge-intensive tasks through user interfaces that combine manual organization strategies, such as piling of papers and text annotations, with powerful automatic data processing to reveal hidden relations in the collected data. This project led to multiple novel user interface concepts that support knowledge-intensive tasks. For instance, visual query expansion is an extension to a search engine that visualizes the effects of suggested variations on an online query result to help users to refine their query terms. The information collage lets users capture information fragments from any online sources, which can then be freely recomposed into a common knowledge representation. Natural language processing helps users to identify common topics in their collage. BiCFlows helps users to discover hidden relations in very large information collections. For instance, they can explore which authors tend to contribute to similar topics. The user interfaces served as foundation for empirical research with users from different knowledge work domains. This research provided new insights into the strengths but also the limitations of interactive visualization for information foraging and sensemaking. On the one hand, the studies show that, in some situations, interactive visualization can be less efficient than working with unprocessed text-based information. On the other hand, the studies also show that combining automatic data analysis with interactive visualization can lead to more unexpected findings, especially when exploring large data. The extent of manual information organization varies with the task: the less users know about the gathered information, the more automatic organization they expect. In summary, this project contributed novel user interface concepts and design guidelines for user interfaces supporting information foraging and sensemaking. The techniques and study results were published at high-ranking peer-reviewed venues, and it can be expected that the findings of this project shape the way how users seek and organize their information in the future.


  • FWF T 752-N30

Research Areas

Research Area
Information Visualization and Visual Analytics
In this research area, our focus lies on novel visual encodings and interaction techniques to explore a large amount of abstract data, often in combination with analytical reasoning.


33 Publications found:
Image Bib Reference Publication Type
Manuela Waldner, Daniel Steinböck, Meister Eduard Gröller
Interactive exploration of large time-dependent bipartite graphs
Journal of Computer Languages, 57, April 2020. [paper]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Wolfgang Gundacker
Wilangyman - Eine Google-Chrome Erweiterung die Wikipedia-Artikel um fremdsprachliche Inhalte ergänzt
Bachelor Thesis
Michael Mazurek
Visual Active Learning for News Stream Classification
[image] [Master thesis] [Poster]
Master Thesis
Stefan Sietzen, Manuela Waldner
Interactive Feature Visualization in the Browser
In Proceedings of the Workshop on Visualization for AI explainability (VISxAI). October 2019.
[video] [Explainable URL]
Other Reviewed Publication
Manuela Waldner, Alexandra Diehl, Denis Gracanin, Rainer Splechtna, Claudio Delrieux, Kresimir Matkovic
A Comparison of Radial and Linear Charts for Visualizing Daily Patterns
IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 26:1033-1042, October 2019. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Stefan Sietzen
Web-Interface for neural network feature visualization
Student Project
Sebastian Sippl, Michael Sedlmair, Manuela Waldner
Collecting and Structuring Information in the Information Collage
TR-193-02-2019-2, August 2019 [video] [arXiv report]
Technical Report
Jan Byska, Thomas Trautner, Sergio Marques, Jiri Damborsky, Barbora Kozlikova, Manuela Waldner
Analysis of Long Molecular Dynamics Simulations Using Interactive Focus+Context Visualization
Computer Graphics Forum, 38(3):441-453, June 2019. [paper] [video]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Muhammad Samoul
Visual Comparison of NLP Pipelines
Student Project
Nicholas Waldin, Manuela Waldner, Mathieu Le Muzic, Meister Eduard Gröller, David Goodsell, Ludovic Autin, Arthur Olson, Ivan Viola
Cuttlefish: Color Mapping for Dynamic Multi‐Scale Visualizations
Computer Graphics Forum, 38(6):150-164, March 2019. [Open Access Article in Wiley Online Library]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Katharina Unger
Visual Comparison of Organism-Specific Metabolic Pathways
[CESCG paper]
Student Project
Patrick Hromniak
Visual Comparison of Natural Language Processing Pipelines
Bachelor Thesis
Thomas Trautner
Importance-Driven Exploration of Molecular Dynamics Simulations
[image] [Poster]
Master Thesis
Georg Edlinger
Visually Linking web search results with bookmarked information
Bachelor Thesis
Daniel Steinböck, Meister Eduard Gröller, Manuela Waldner
Casual Visual Exploration of Large Bipartite Graphs Using Hierarchical Aggregation and Filtering
In International Symposium on Big Data Visual and Immersive Analytics. October 2018.
Conference Paper
Michael Mazurek, Manuela Waldner
Visualizing Expanded Query Results
Computer Graphics Forum:87-98, June 2018. [paper] [video]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Daniel Steinböck
Interactive Visual Exploration Interface for Large Bipartite Networks
[Master Thesis] [Poster] [sketch]
Master Thesis
Matthias Gusenbauer
Bitstream - A bottom-up/top-down hybrid approach for web-based visual analysis of big data
[image] [Master thesis]
Master Thesis
Manuela Waldner
Visual Data Exploration and Analysis in Emerging Display Environments , 5. April 2018, Pisa, Italy
Invited Talk
Dea Cizmic
Exploratory Data Visualization Dashboard for Technical Analysis of Commodity Market Indicators
Bachelor Thesis
Martin Smiech
Configurable Text Exploration Interface with NLP for Decision Support
Bachelor Thesis
Patrik Polatsek, Manuela Waldner, Ivan Viola, Peter Kapec, Wanda Benesova
Exploring visual attention and saliency modeling for task-based visual analysis
Computers & Graphics, (2), February 2018. [paper]
Journal Paper (without talk)
Manuela Waldner
Guiding Attention in Complex Visualizations using Flicker, 17. November 2017, Czech Technical University
Invited Talk
Thomas Geymayer, Manuela Waldner, Alexander Lex, Dieter Schmalstieg
How Sensemaking Tools Influence Display Space Usage
In EuroVis Workshop on Visual Analytics. June 2017.
Conference Paper
Manuela Waldner, Alexey Karimov, Meister Eduard Gröller
Exploring Visual Prominence of Multi-Channel Highlighting in Visualizations
In Spring Conference on Computer Graphics 2017. May 2017.
Conference Paper
Nicholas Waldin, Manuela Waldner, Ivan Viola
Flicker Observer Effect: Guiding Attention Through High Frequency Flicker in Images
Computer Graphics Forum, 36(2):467-476, May 2017. [paper]
Journal Paper with Conference Talk
Rebeka Koszticsak
Generating Expressive Window Thumbnails through Seam Carving
Bachelor Thesis
Daniel Steinböck
Visualization of EU Funding Programmes
Student Project
Michael Mazurek
Stream I/O - An Interactive Visualization of Publication Data
Bachelor Thesis
Michael Mazurek
Visualization of Thesaurus-Based Web Search
Student Project
Lucas Dworschak
Semantically Zoomable Choropleth Map
Bachelor Thesis
Nicholas Waldin, Mathieu Le Muzic, Manuela Waldner, Meister Eduard Gröller, David Goodsell, Ludovic Autin, Ivan Viola
Chameleon Dynamic Color Mapping for Multi-Scale Structural Biology Models
In Eurographics Workshop on Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine. 2016.
Conference Paper
Johanna Donabauer
Advanced Screen Capturing
Bachelor Thesis
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