Innovations in Visualization

Heuristics for Information Visualization Evaluation

Torre Zuk
Lothar Schlesier
Petra Neumann
Mark Hancock
Sheelagh Carpendale


Heuristic evaluation is a well known discount evaluation technique in human-computer interaction (HCI) but has not been utilized in information visualization (InfoVis) to the same extent. While several sets of heuristics have been used or proposed for InfoVis, it is not yet known what kind of heuristics are useful for finding general InfoVis problems. We performed a meta-analysis with the goal of exploring the issues of heuristic evaluation for InfoVis. This meta-analysis concentrates on issues pertaining to the selection and organization of heuristics, and the process itself. For this purpose, we used three sets of previously published heuristics to assess a visual decision support system that is used to examine simulation data. The meta-analysis shows that the evaluation process and results have a high dependency on the heuristics and the types of evaluators chosen. We describe issues related to interpretation, redundancy, and conflict in heuristics. We also provide a discussion of generalizability and categorization of these heuristics.


Torre Zuk, Lothar Schlesier, Petra Neumann, Mark S. Hancock and M. Sheelagh T. Carpendale. Heuristics for Information Visualization Evaluation. In BELIV 2006: Proceedings of the Workshop Beyond Time and Errors: Novel Evaluation Methods for Information Visualization, held in conjunction with the Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI 2006). (Venice, Italy), ACM Press, May 23--26, 2006. PDF Paper