Futures of Networks Visualization

Project exploring future of networks visualization and 3D interactivity, 2017-Present

This project is based on research for Futures of Networks Visualization panel at DH2017. This panel is essentially full of DH superstars and me, so needless to say I’m equal parts excited and nervous. I’m honestly just curious to hear what the other panelists have to say, but I’m also interesting in exploring using network visualizations that are interactive as a way to gather data and reinterpret results. This idea developed from my use of networks to visualize text analysis and my desire to use those visualizations as a starting point rather than a final product of my research. You can read my contribution to our panel proposal below, and see an example of my data in a Plotly graph. I’m trying to push up my experiments to Github, and if you have any research leads please feel free to contact me.

Networks and Interactivity

How could new dynamic interactions with network visualization help us better understand and explore our data? With the rise of data journalism and in-browser apps, network visualizations are increasingly interactive, using animations and dynamic features to visualize additional dimensions. Such interactivity can help further an argument, and encourage the user to engage with the data. But, how sustainable and accessible are these visualizations? The long-term viability of these network visualizations depends on continued support, from updating code libraries to adapting to new browser requirements. Moreover, interactivity can be too demanding for slow internet connections, while also complicating workflows for both print and online publication. Added interactivity may also foreground style over substantive engagement with research questions.

What is the relationship of these interactive graphs to their textual explications? How can we design interactive visualizations for multiple modalities and bandwidths? How can digital humanists determine when interactivity is furthering their network analysis? How might interactive network analysis leverage the insights of social annotation tools to analyze metadata on users’ interactions with network visualizations, or utilize more immersive digital experiences, such as virtual or augmented reality?