Understanding Visualization by Understanding Individual Users
Visualizations are tools to support thinking. They can be used to externalize knowledge about a complex analytical task or domain, and through interaction, they can embody a reasoning process. As such, visualization cannot be fully understood without also understanding how the user of a visualization thinks. This understanding is nontrivial, and has been complicated by mounting evidence that there is no single type of visualization user. Ultimately, making sense of visualization requires understanding how users vary and why. Past research in visualization theory has focused primarily on how data can be mapped to visual forms and how people perceive them.