Proceedings: GI 2004

Is a picture worth a thousand words?: an evaluation of information awareness displays

Christopher Plaue, Todd Miller, John Stasko

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2004: London, Ontario, Canada, 17 - 19 May 2004, 117-126

  • BibTex

    author = {Plaue, Christopher and Miller, Todd and Stasko, John},
    title = {Is a picture worth a thousand words?: an evaluation of information awareness displays},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2004},
    series = {GI 2004},
    year = {2004},
    issn = {0-89791-213-6},
    isbn = {1-56881-227-2},
    location = {London, Ontario, Canada},
    pages = {117--126},
    numpages = {10},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada},
    keywords = {Perception, Awareness, Collaboration, and Information Management},


What makes a peripheral or ambient display more effective at presenting awareness information than another? Presently, little is known in this regard and techniques for evaluating these types of displays are just beginning to be developed. In this article, we focus on one aspect of a peripheral display's effectiveness---its ability to communicate information at a glance. We conducted an evaluation of the InfoCanvas, a peripheral display that conveys awareness information graphically as a form of information art, by assessing how well people recall information when it is presented for a brief period of time. We compare performance of the InfoCanvas to two other electronic information displays, a Web portal style and a text-based display, when each display was viewed for a short period of time. We found that participants noted and recalled significantly more information when presented by the InfoCanvas than by either of the other displays despite having to learn the additional graphical representations employed by the InfoCanvas.