Enthusiastic and Grounded, Avoidant and Cautious: Understanding Public Receptivity to Data and Visualizations
Helen Ai He, Jagoda Walny, Sonja Thoma, Sheelagh Carpendale, Wesley Willett
2023-10-26T22:36:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Diverse audiences, Information receptivity, Information visualization, Open data
Despite an abundance of open data initiatives aimed to inform and empower “general” audiences, we still know little about the ways people outside of traditional data analysis communities experience and engage with public data and visualizations. To investigate this gap, we present results from an in-depth qualitative interview study with 19 participants from diverse ethnic, occupational, and demographic backgrounds. Our findings characterize a set of lived experiences with open data and visualizations in the domain of energy consumption, production, and transmission. This work exposes information receptivity — an individual’s transient state of willingness or openness to receive information — as a blind spot for the data visualization community, complementary to but distinct from previous notions of data visualization literacy and engagement. We observed four clusters of receptivity responses to data-and visualization-based rhetoric: Information-Avoidant, Data-Cautious, Data-Enthusiastic, and Domain-Grounded. Based on our findings, we highlight research opportunities for the visualization community. This exploratory work identifies the existence of diverse receptivity responses, highlighting the need to consider audiences with varying levels of openness to new information.