Beyond the Screen: Immersive Information Visualisation in Engineering Design

Andrea Bravo

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesis

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Information visualisation is no longer limited to the screen. Recent advances in immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have paved the way for displaying information in three dimensions, making information visualisation jump out of the screen to become immer-sive, providing a three-dimensional space to interact with data. However, research challenges in the novel area of immersive information visualisation are rich and numerous, and applications addressing engineering design are still scarce. 􀀁is PhD thesis illuminates the impact of immersive information visualisation in engineering design.

The thesis is structured according to the factors that impact the understand-ing of visualisations: human behaviour and cognition (study one), and the design of visualisations (study two). Study one presents an experimental study of data visualisation stories presented on the computer or in VR and their respective impact on three parameters of human behaviour and cogni-tion: user engagement, cognitive load, and situation awareness. The study focuses on expert VR users to avoid the bias of novice users in favour of VR confirmed by prior studies. Results indicate a higher engagement and situa-tion awareness in VR. The study also proves that expert VR users display a similar cognitive load in VR and on the computer. This result disconfirms prior expectations from the literature, which has developed claims for VR based on novice users.

Study two presents a Research through Design study. The study describes a design case with industry practitioners conducted over two years discussing the design process of an immersive data visualisation for a presentation of financial data. During the study, I acted as a designer and researcher through an iterative design process, including user research, design and develop-ment, and user evaluation. The study’s findings highlight the importance of hybridity in design and provide guidelines for design practitioners. The thesis expands designers’ palette for information visualisation to immer-sive information visualisation through three main contributions. First, by discussing human aspects of immersive information visualisation. Second, by presenting design aspects involved in the design of immersive infor-mation visualisation. Third, by presenting guidelines for design practice. Fi-nally, this thesis contributes to a nascent corpus of studies within immersive information visualisation and design.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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