Towards a Characterization of Complex Visualizations

  • Suraya Yaacob
  • Hai-Ning Liang
  • Nazlena Mohamad Ali
  • Nurulhuda Firdaus Mohd Azmi
  • Rasimah Che Mohd Yusoff


The main purpose of visualizations is to support human sense making and exploration needs. With the exploration of data, in both amount and complexity, we are seeing visualizations that are growing in complexity. To facilitate effective exploration of complex visualizations is challenging. The challenge occurs because each component of the process requires to be well understood and designed effectively on its own to support users in accomplishing their goals and information needs. Primarily, the relationship between interaction design and information complexity determines how well the purpose of user exploration is supported. In this paper, we want to emphasize the need to have a well-developed conceptualization of complex visualizations - e.g., what is meant by complex, what properties of complex visualizations there are, and how interaction techniques can support their exploration. This understanding can help us develop more suitable visualizations and their supporting techniques. This research draws from the areas of visualization science, human-information interaction, interaction design and systems thinking. The research has identified three properties of emergence which are; i) creating shared understanding, ii) synthesizing and iii) organizing and structuring. Finally, the research also highlighted the challenge of gathering the users’ context while characterizing complexity of visualizations.

May 21, 2018
How to Cite
YAACOB, Suraya et al. Towards a Characterization of Complex Visualizations. Open International Journal of Informatics, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, p. 1-11, may 2018. ISSN 2289-2370. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 may 2019.