Best Paper Award

Perception! Immersion! Empowerment! Superpowers as Inspiration for Visualization

Wesley Willett, Bon Adriel Aseniero, Sheelagh Carpendale, Pierre Dragicevic, Yvonne Jansen, Lora Oehlberg, Petra Isenberg

View presentation: 2021-10-26T15:30:00Z GMT-0600 Change your timezone on the schedule page
2021-10-26T15:30:00Z
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
A conceptual illustration of a possible "Building Vision" visualization approach inspired by enhanced see-through vision abilities often seen in superhero comics.
Abstract

We explore how the lens of fictional superpowers can help characterize how visualizations empower people and provide inspiration for new visualization systems. Researchers and practitioners often tout visualizations’ ability to “make the invisible visible”and to “enhance cognitive abilities.” Meanwhile superhero comics and other modern fiction often depict characters with similarly fantastic abilities that allow them to see and interpret the world in ways that transcend traditional human perception. We investigate the intersection of these domains, and show how the language of superpowers can be used to characterize existing visualization systems and suggest opportunities for new and empowering ones. We introduce two frameworks: The first characterizes seven underlying mechanics that form the basis for a variety of visual superpowers portrayed in fiction. The second identifies seven ways in which visualization tools and interfaces can instill a sense of empowerment in the people who use them. Building on these observations, we illustrate a diverse set of “visualization superpowers” and highlight opportunities for the visualization community to create new system sand interactions that empower new experiences with data