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HCI, InfoVis

Response to [Between Aesthetics …] by Skog et al.


This paper describes an example of designing an ambient information visualization that leverages the two factors: aesthetics and utility. The authors discussed the design of an informative art that also serves as a bus schedule located in a station. The visual design is based on Mondrian styles and a couple of graphical encodings convey the underlying information. The design process involves several user feedback and redesigns, with four lessons concluded for future work in designing ambient information visualization.


  1. “(ambient infovis) … must strike a balance between aesthetic appeal and usefulness.”
  2. “Informative art is a subset of ambient information visualization”
  3. Four lessons:
  • “by finding information that is relevant to the place where the ambient display is located, every person spending time at that place becomes a potential user”;
  • “the rate of change in the information should be frequent enough to promote relevance, but the developer can affect the visual appearance by slowing down the changes of adding a small amount of animation”;
  • “basing a visualization on an artistic style need not hinder – and might even support – the readability and comprehension of an ambient infovis installation”
  • “letting features of the information source affect the visual encoding, thus providing a mnemonic to remember the mapping, is a good way to support the comprehension of the display”


  1. We can think about our own ambient infovis by relating it to the four lessons.
  2. At-a-glance infovis: can we provide users with such bold, easy-to-read, limited but sufficiently useful insight or information at a glance?

About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

Making an Impact in Your Life


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