The 3D Dataviz Escalator
Sep 12, 2016
Back when we did some of the original research work and testing on immersive 3D data visualisation that led to Datascape we developed this "benefits escalator" to show the increasing possible benefits of moving visualisation away from 2D graphs to immersive, multi-user 3D spaces. With the launch of Datascape 2.0 we felt it needed a bit of a facelift. What's interesting is that there is very little there that we thought actually needed changing - the fundamental message of the chart still stands:
- 2D plots can rapidly become crowded and unreadable, and provide no spatial cues to help remember them - they are all just lines on paper or screen.
- Adding a 3rd dimension to a 2D plot let's you add an extra dimension of data, but the image gets even busier, and if you can rotate and zoom the chart then you get rapidly disorientated.
- Moving into an immersive 3D space where its the data that stands still but you that has the sense of movement gets around much of the disorientation, which in turn lets you take up lots of different viewpoints inside and outside the data to better understand it, and the sense of moving in amongst the data gives you a spatial relationship to the data which can help with recall and with story-telling within the data.
- Given that the 3D space is near infinite you can spread your data out far beyond the limits of the page or screen, yet you can zoom in on the smallest part but still have the context of "the whole" in the background. The space also lets you use 3D models to represent the data which can let you communicate far more than a colour key, and with minimal visual interference unlike 2D pictograms. The 3D space can also be a home for multiple charts, all on different axes, but all in the same space or frame of analysis.
- The final step is when we make the space multi-user, so that you can see where everyone else is in the space, and what they are looking at - opening up whole new possibilities in collaborative data visualisation and visual analytics.