Augmented Reality for Scholarly Publication of 3D Visualizations in Astronomy: An Empirical Evaluation

Jane L. Adams, Laura South, Arzu Çöltekin, Alyssa Goodman, Michelle A. Borkin

Room: 104

2023-10-24T22:54:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
Experimental design: Part 1, A survey on participants' expertise, experience with AR, and demographic information, Part 2, Two sets of three tasks in each the non-AR and one of the two AR conditions, along with NASA-TLX workload questionnaires, and Part 3 Open feedback from participants.
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Human-centered computing, Visualization, Empirical studies in visualization, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Interaction paradigms, Mixed / augmented reality


We present a mixed methods user study evaluating augmented reality (AR) as a visualization technique for use in astronomy journal publications. This work is motivated by the highly spatial nature of scientific visualizations employed in astronomy, including spatial reasoning tasks for hypothesis generation and scientific communications. In this 52-person user study, we evaluate two AR approaches (one traditional tabletop projection and the other with a 'tangible' aid) as spatial 3D visualization techniques, as compared to a baseline 3D rendering on a phone. We identify a significant difference in mental and physical workload between the two AR conditions in men and women. Qualitatively, through thematic coding of interviews, we identify notable observed differences ranging from device-specific physical challenges, to subdomain-specific utility within astronomy. The confluence of quantitative and qualitative results suggest a tension between workload and engagement when comparing non-AR and AR technologies. We summarize these findings and contribute them for reference in data visualization research furthering novel scientific communications in astronomy journal publications.