Exploring Effectiveness of Uncertainty Visualization Methods by Eye-Tracking

Exploring Effectiveness of Uncertainty Visualization Methods by Eye-Tracking
Jan Brus, Stanislav Popelka, Alzbeta Brychtova, and Jana Svobodova

Department of Geoinformatics, Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic (jan.brus@upol.cz, stanislav.popelka@upol.cz, alzbeta.brychtova@upol.cz,j.svobodova@upol.cz)

Abstract: Several visualization techniques for the portrayal of uncertainty have been developed, but there is a gap in transferring knowledge between researchers and final users due to the lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of these visualizations. In this paper, we present a user study that evaluates the perception of uncertainty of the most commonly used techniques for visualizing uncertainty. The study uses data that was designed to represent the uncertainty on maps and images. An eye-tracking study was conducted to assess the differences in user behaviour during scanning the uncertainty visualizations. The search tasks involved primarily finding areas with the least or the most uncertainty. The second part of the research dealt with the usage of uncertainty legends. Eye-tracking can help to understand questions concerning the user’s strategy of the information searching. The eye-tracking method can be considered as the objective one, because it is not influenced by the opinion of the monitored person. To assess graphic effectiveness, eye-tracking methods can help to provide a deeper understanding of scanning strategies that underlie more traditional, high-level accuracy and task completion time results. Eye-tracking methods entail many challenges, such as defining fixations, assigning fixations to areas of interest, choosing appropriate metrics, addressing potential errors in gaze location, and handling scanning interruptions. Special considerations are also required before the designing, preparing, and conducting of eye-tracking studies. Discovered principles can be used in incoming theoretical evaluations of existing or newly developed uncertainty visualization techniques. In addition, the framework developed in this user study presents a structured approach to evaluate uncertainty visualization techniques, as well as provides a basis for future research in uncertainty visualization.

Keywords: eye-tracking, uncertainty, gaze, visualisation

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