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A Surface-Based Visualization Framework

This is a completed project.


Visualizations can control a user’s interaction or engagement with a computer application, but most systems fully disrupt a user by preventing interaction or do not disrupt a user at all by displaying ambient visualizations. We created the first general software solution for controlling user interaction in real-time through tunable and dynamic variable-level disruptive visualizations. Our framework is flexible in that it allows a developer to choose how disruptive the visualization will be to the user, from fully disruptive be taking over their working display through not-at-all disruptive by being displayed on a peripheral surface or ambient display surface.

We created ten proof-of-concept applications to demonstrate the visualizations and show that our system works with any application, can be incorporated into an application by a developer in minutes, can interact with application artifacts through an integrated solution, and determines the intensity of the visualization at run-time as opposed to a using a predetermined set of visualizations. Finally, our use of textural overlays for the visualization is novel in that it allows designers and developers to create disruptive visualizations that are consistent with the application’s visual style, and can be customized to any texture.

Current investigation includes exploring how the display choices (e.g., ambient display surface versus tabletop display versus ubiquitous pixel blanketing of a room) affects how users perceive and use the information presented by the visualization framework.


Images and Videos






Taylor, B., Mandryk, R. 2012. Creating and Interpreting Abstract Visualizations of Emotion. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2012, Toronto, ON.