Information Visualization vol:10 issue:4 pages:356-371
Every information visualization developer is engaged in a complex process of design – balancing the three requirements of utility, soundness and attractiveness within given constraints. This paper investigates the oft-overlooked requirement of attractiveness (or ‘aesthetics’) in visualization, and, in doing so, discusses a wider role for the design process which emphasizes the benefits of disseminating design rationale. In presenting a model of three potential roles for design in information visualization, we suggest that the field would benefit from encompassing a broader scope that includes visualizations produced as part of commercial practice or artistic exploration. We conclude with a discussion on the practical consequences to the academic community of adopting our model – consequences that will require a paradigm shift in the way we value, teach and conduct information visualization research.