Ph.D. Defense of Dissertation: Zachary Pousman

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Monday April 30, 2012
      5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Location: TSRB 132
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Zachary Pousman


Summary Sentence: Casual Infovis: Theory and Practice

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Defense of Dissertation Announcement

Title: Casual Infovis: Theory and Practice

Zachary Pousman (
Human-Centered Computing
School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech

Date: Monday, April 30
Time: 1 - 3:30 PM
Location: TSRB 132


  • Dr. John Stasko (Advisor, College of Computing)
  • Dr. Gregory Abowd (College of Computing)
  • Dr. Jim Foley (College of Computing)
  • Dr. Beth Mynatt (College of Computing)
  • Dr. Michael Mateas (Department of Computer Science, University of California Santa Cruz)

Information Visualization, the use of computer-supported interactive visual depictions to amplify human cognition, is changing as it moves into wider use as a medium for communication. Casual infovis is a critical lens on which to trace the expansion of infovis into new settings for casual data analysis including journalism, art and design, and personal data tracking. Casual infovis draws attention to the everyday insights that non-professionals in varied settings (and frequently without extrinsic motivations) find in their visual analyses.

The research presented in this dissertation spans historical, theoretical, and design-based investigations. I report on an interview study of designers working with information visualizations as a medium for communication, a series of design probes which prototype elements of casual infovis, and draw theoretical conclusions that serve to move information visualization away from its formalist and positivist beginnings. My research contributes a semiotic framework for understanding reference, and how that framework modifies and enlarges the 'information visualization pipeline', the model by which infovis researchers move from raw data to human insight. My work on systems building and interviews highlight aspects of this critical approach, and I provide conceptual tools for creating more culturally situated information visualizations.

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College of Computing, School of Interactive Computing

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  • Created By: Jupiter
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Apr 23, 2012 - 7:08am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 9:58pm