Proceedings: GI 1998

Perception and Data Visualization: The Foundations of Experimental Semiotics

Colin Ware

Proceedings of Graphics Interface '98: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 18 - 20 June 1998, 92-98

DOI 10.20380/GI1998.12

  • BibTex

    author = {Ware, Colin},
    title = {Perception and Data Visualization: The Foundations of Experimental Semiotics},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface '98},
    series = {GI 1998},
    year = {1998},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {0-9695338-7-X},
    location = {Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada},
    pages = {92--98},
    numpages = {7},
    doi = {10.20380/GI1998.12},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


Data Visualization is a new discipline involving the application of computer graphics to the understanding of information. It is successful because it can take advantage of the remarkable pattern finding capability of the human visual system. Visualization techniques are applied in medicine, software engineering, stock market analysis and many areas of science. But is it a science or a design discipline? If it is a science, how should research be conducted? In this paper it is argued that visualization can be productively regarded as an area of applied perception research, building on new advances in our understanding of how people see. The intellectual basis for such a discipline is outlined and illustrated with three example relating to color, object perception and stereoscopic space perception respectively.