Honorable Mention

Enthusiastic and Grounded, Avoidant and Cautious: Understanding Public Receptivity to Data and Visualizations

Helen Ai He, Jagoda Walny, Sonja Thoma, Sheelagh Carpendale, Wesley Willett

Room: 109

2023-10-26T22:36:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
A 2D Information Receptivity space, which characterizes interview participants based on their receptivity to open energy information when presented as data and as interpretation. The space shows four clusters: Data-Cautious (receptive to interpretation but not data), Data-Enthusiastic (receptive to interpretation and data), Domain-Grounded (receptive to data but not interpretation), and Information-Avoidant (not receptive to data or interpretation).
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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.