information visualisation research



From the Analytical to Artistic

Gough, P. (2017). From the Analytical to Artistic: A Review of Literature on Information Visualization. Leonardo, 50(1). MIT Press



Engaging a general audience with scientific research can be effectively assisted by visualization. Visualization art has the potential to engage users with data in a way that gives the audience deep and reflective insights into information. This article reviews relevant literature on different methods and practices of visualization from the analytical to artistic. The literature shows that beautiful presentations of data, in a clarified context, can help an audience with little understanding of the data domain gain deep, meaningful insights into information.


A process for non-expert user visualization design

Gough, P., Bednarz, T., de Bérigny, C., & Roberts, J. (2016). A process for non-expert user visualization design. In Proceedings of the 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction - OzCHI ’16 (pp. 247–251). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.


This paper outlines a new approach to Non-Expert User Visualization design (NEUVis). It has been developed through reflection on the process of creating a multi-user, interactive installation. To aid designers, primary researchers and funding agents in translating data into a visualization, we present Six Questions to combine data and user needs, which outlines design opportunities and focus points. In addition to this we describe the NEUVis Data-Visualization Schematic: a design tool that clarifies the attributes, relevance and interactions in NEUVis. These tools were developed as part of a research through design method, and are currently being used to build visualizations of statistical uncertainty into disease maps.

Communicating Statistical Uncertainty to Non-Expert Audiences

Roberts, J., & Gough, P. (2016). Communicating Statistical Uncertainty to Non-Expert Audiences: Interactive Disease Mapping. In Big Data Visual Analytics (BDVA), 2016 (pp. 1–3). Sydney: IEEE.


Communicating statistical uncertainty to non- expert users is essential to translating data driven insights to create impact in the ‘real world’. Embedding uncertainty in data visualizations however, can be a significant design challenge due when communicating to non-expert decision makers, and has been avoided in the past due to fear of overwhelming or confusing the audience. This research aims to explore interactive disease mapping features that enable the user to explore the data and reveal the uncertainty within the information presented. Understanding uncertainty enables the user to be aware of the limitations of data driven insights, and leads to more informed decision making processes.

Learning Design Through Facilitating Collaborative Design: Incorporating Service Learning into a First Year Undergraduate Design Degree Course

Bown, O., Gough, P., & Tomitsch, M. (n.d.). Learning Design Through Facilitating Collaborative Design: In R. Tucker (Ed.), Collaboration and Student Engagement in Design Education (pp. 209–229). IGI Global.


This chapter presents a project in which students taking an undergraduate course on Design Thinking participated in a university widening participation project, visiting local schools from a low socioeconomic status background and engaging the school students in a design exercise. The project aimed to draw on the value of service learning, learning through an engaged and socially meaningful task, with tertiary students learning to facilitate design, following principles of co-design, in a community of stakehold- ers, and secondary students gaining contact with university life, seeing an undergraduate perspective on design, and receiving education in design thinking. Tertiary students were asked to develop design thinking toolkits that would support their design facilitation process. The authors present the results of a study of the project, based on students’ assignment submissions, and a focus group following the activity.


ACM SIGGRAPH Theater Event: ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community – Science of the Unseen: Digital Art Perspecives


J. Bullard, M. Ley, J. Hagedorn, R. Desaymons, W. Griffin, J. Terrill, Q. Hu, S. Satterfield, and P. Gough, Direct Comparisons of 3D Hydration Experiments and Simulations, in Proceedings of the 6th Advances in Cement-based Materials: Characterization, Processing, Modeling and Sensing, Manhattan, Kansas, July 20, 2015. 

Hagedorn, J., Bullard, J., Desaymons, R., Griffin, W., Terrill, J., Ley, T., Hu, Q., Satterfield, S. and Gough, P., (2015) HydratiCA: A Parallelized Numeric Model of Cement Hydration, Poster presented at Extreme Science Engineering Discovery Environment 2015 Conference (XSEDE’15), St. Louis, Missouri, July 26-30, 2015.

Promoting Climate Change Awareness Through Environmental Education

Gough, P., Dunn, K., & de Bérigny, C. (2016). Climate Change Education through Art and Science Collaborations. In L. Wilson, & C. Stevenson (Eds.) Promoting Climate Change Awareness through Environmental Education (pp. 16-36). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8764-6.ch002


This chapter introduces three arts projects that employ different collaborative methods to educate the general population about climate change research. The artworks provide new access points to climate change information, rather than acting as a representative for the discipline of science. This allows different ways of knowing about climate change through the experience of the artworks. The artworks were created through collaboration with scientists, who have expertise in the domain of their research, and a creative practitioner, such as an artist or designer, who has expertise in communicating information to a non-expert audience. The collaboration is aided through the creation of a boundary object, which allows creative practitioners to develop their understanding of the science they are presenting to their audience. The artworks also acts as a boundary object between the scientist and the audience, allowing both groups to understand and transform their knowledge about climate change.

Collaborative Mapping

Dunn, K., Gough, P., (2015) Collaborative Mapping. In Bauhaus Edition: Expanded Architecture – Temporal Spatial Practices.  Bauhaus Dessau and Spurbuchverlag, Bamberg.


The 2014 Expanded Architecture project Collaborative Mapping emerged through a series of collaborative projects by Kate Dunn and Phillip Gough. This paper documents the successes, failures and hurdles of the collaboration.  Dunn and Gough proposed a series of projections that were developed over a period of 6 weeks.  They incorporate some of the significant motifs of Harry Seidler and the artists he was both inspired by and collaborated with, as well as some of the forms repeatedly found in Seidler’s buildings. The original proposal used the floor at the entrance to Australia Square as the projection surface with people interacting with the work by traversing the screening area. The projection would alter and transform as people move through the space, generating new geometric forms. Kate and Phil initially proposed to visually map the collaboration between Seidler and the relevant artists he worked with. It soon became apparent that this would be difficult as accurate records of the exact nature of the exchange and collaboration don’t really exist.

International Journal of Software and Informatics

Gough, P., Dunn, K., Bednarz, T., Ho, X., (2015) Art and Chartjunk: A Guide for NEUVis. International Journal of Software and Informatics, 9(1), 61-72.


In the fast-changing and multi-disciplinary practice of artful information visualization, the act of translating data into an image can be fraught with peril. There is considerable debate around modes of visualization and their relationships with the underlying data. This paper outlines the debate between the opposing ideologies through assessment of design considerations and comparisons of creative practice and visual analytics. The authors summarise the current nexus of influences and circumstances and proceed to formulate a set of guidelines for creative practitioners developing visualizations for Non-Expert Users (NEUVis).

SIGGRAPH 2015 - CG in Australasia Session

Gough, P., (2015). Comparing Visualisation Approaches to Communicating Science to Non-Scientists, Presentation, ACM Siggraph, Los Angeles.



de Bérigny, C., Gough, P., Faleh, M., Woolsey, E., (2014). Tangible User Interface Design for Climate Change Education in Interactive Installation Art. Leonardo 47:4, (pp 451, 456).


The authors discuss how tangible user interface objects can be important educational and entertainment tools in environmental education. The authors describe their interactive installation artwork Reefs on the Edge, which incorporates tangible user interface objects and combines environmental science and multiple art forms to explore coral reef ecosystems that are threatened by the effects of climate change. The authors/artists argue that the use of tangible user interface in an installation-art setting can help engage and inform the public about crucial environmental issues.

VINCI 2014

Gough, P., Ho, X., Dunn, K., and Bednarz, T., (2014). Art and ChartJunk: A Guide for NEUVis. Proceedings of VINCI 2014 Conference


In the fast changing, hybrid and multi-disciplinary prac- tices of artful information visualisation (artful infoVis) and artists using data to inform artworks, the act of translating data into an image can be fraught with peril. There is considerable debate around modes of visual- ization and their relationship with the underlying data. This paper outlines the debate between the opposing ideologies and, through assessment of design considera- tions and comparison of creative practice and visual an- alytics, formulates a set of guidelines for creative practi- tioners developing visualisations for Non-Expert Users (NEUVis).

PacificVis 2014

Gough, P., Wall, C. D. B., & Bednarz, T. (2014, March). Affective and Effective Visualisation: Communicating Science to Non-expert Users. In Pacific Visualization Symposium (PacificVis), 2014 IEEE (pp. 335-339). IEEE. doi: 10.1109/PacificVis.2014.39


This paper outlines Non-Expert User Visualisation (NEUVis), a mode of information visualisation commonly practiced by artists and designers. NEUVis, a wicked problem, accounts for design constraints related to the affective (or emotional) response by the user. This contrasts NEUVis from the tame, but complex, problems associated with scientific visualisation. Examples of scientific visualisation and NEUVis show how the challenge of NEUVis can be overcome by collaboration between artists/designers and scientists. Current Research at the Design Lab at The University of Sydney into NEUVis aims to map the different levels of cognitive and emotional response of different modes of visualisation.

OzViz 2014

Gough, P., 2014, The Missing Link Between Design and Science: Creating a Design Understanding for NEUVis, Presentation at OzVis 2014, QUT, Brisbane

Non-Expert User Visualisation (NEUVis) is a design exercise, but how does creating data visualisations fit into the practice of design?  A creative practitioner, such as an artist or designer needs to understand the audience as well as the data, so they need to collaborate with scientists, but how does this work?  This talk will outline some interesting results of an ongoing Research through Design project into end-users’ impressions of different creative data visualisations, and how iterative design methods can be applied to the production of creative visualisations of data for the general population.

CSIRO CSS Conference Workshop 2014

CSIRO's Computational and Simulation Sciences and eResearch, Annual Conference 2014,  held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre located in Southbank precinct of Melbourne, from 25-28 March 2014.

Gough, P., 2014, The Chartjunk Debate for Dummies, Presentation, CSIRO, Melbourne


Conference: OzViz 2013

NEUVis: Affective and Effective science visualisations for non-scientists

This presentation outlines Non-Expert User Visualisation (NEUVis). There is currently an interest among the general population that complex scientific research be communicated and disseminated. While scientific research is taking place, it is often beyond the understanding of many non-scientists. In order to address this issue there is a trend to visualise information specifically for non-expert users. Designing a visualisation for non-expert users is an ill-defined and challenging problem; many of the design constraints for non-expert user visualisation will not exist when visualising for domain-expert users. In contrast, domain-expert visualisations, such as is commonly used the sciences, are complex, but tame problems. The nature of non-expert user visualisations means that it is more suited to design and art practitioners, as it is in line with the problems that they usually address. To establish this, we will outline wicked problems, and outline how non-expert user visualisation can be fit into this category of problems. 
This presentation will include examples of collaborative art projects that have visualised data for the non-expert user audience. These will be contrasted with examples from CSIRO which involves complex visualisation for domain-expert users. This presentation will also include an introduction into research being undertaken at The University of Sydney, in collaboration with CSIRO, that investigates the problem of visualising science for the non-expert user. 


Journal - Technoetic Arts

Wu, G., Gough, P., & Wall, C. de B. (2012). Miltiple channel video as a precursor to transmedia-based art. Technoetic Arts, 10(2&3), 329–339. doi:


Conference: Hawaiian International Conference on Arts and Humanities

Gough, P., Wu, G., Pratomo, A., & onacloV. (2012). Communicating Scientific Knowledge via Data Visualization in a Transmedia Based Installation Artwork. In Proceedings of the 10th Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities (pp. 175 – 183). Honolulu, Hawaii: Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.


This paper explores the role of data visualization as a component in a transmedia installation artwork. Findings from scientific research can be difficult for the general public to interpret and data visualizations aim to create meaning by presenting information in a way that relates understanding to a general audience. By designing visualizations for a general audience, data visualization can facilitate important scientific data by educating and challenging the audience. In this paper, we explore some methods being employed in data visualizations that help a general audience develop knowledge and understanding through the way information is presented to them. We discuss data visualization and in particular the visualization from one artwork, Reefs on the Edge, an experimental collaborative artwork that communicates scientific research about climate change as an installation artwork.


Pratomo, A., Gough, P., & onacloV. (2012). Designing Objects and Interaction of Tangible User Interface for an Interactive Data Visualization in a Transmedia Artwork. In Proceedings of the 10th Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities (pp. 842 – 851). Honolulu, Hawaii: Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities.


Tangible User Interface (TUI) design is an emerging discipline that aims to create an alternative for a Graphical User Interface (GUI), coupled with an abstract set of input devices, such as a keyboard and mouse. Replacing both the input devices and graphical display, TUI includes an object that people can intuitively grasp and interact with to control data input. The function of TUI objects is also to represent the output of the user’s controls. This paper looks into the implementation of a TUI in interactive data visualization, as part of a transmedia installation artwork called Reefs on the Edge. The TUI designed for Reefs on the Edge provides a more natural interface for interacting with a visualization of scientific data. This TUI creates an engaging and unique experience of the artwork, which communicates the message of scientific research in a novel way. In this paper, we explore our approach to the creation of a TUI for Reefs on the Edge, in order to communicate valuable information about the effect of climate change on the life cycle of coral spawning in the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR), Queensland, Australia. We look at the precedent set by pioneering examples of TUI design and the methodology of creating objects that are contextually related to the data visualization.



Conference: OzViz 2011

Encouraging Play with Interactive Visualisation of Live Data

This presentation will introduce the interactive artwork, City___ and discuss the research, methodology, conceptualisation and development behind interactive artistic data visualisation.
City___ is a modular, generative and interactive artwork designed to prompt play in the urban space. The artwork visualises data aggregated from online services as beautiful streams of colour in a fluid dynamic simulation.
City___ has 3 modes of interaction: passive, reactive and interactive. As each mode is discovered, more meaning can be extracted from the artwork. This allows users to engage with the artwork on multiple levels. Curious users are rewarded by being able to have a greater influence on the artwork, and through exploration, have more information presented to them.


Interactive Data Visualisation with a Tangible User Interface

This presentation will introduce an interactive data visualisation from Reefs on the Edge, a transmedia art installation. We will be discussing how Reefs on the Edge presents an abstract data visualisation, approached from an art perspective, to successfully engage an audience with scientific data on how sea surface temperatures effect the survival of corals in the south of the Great Barrier Reef.

Using a Tangible User Interface to control the simulation, users are able to explore and engage with the information. This talk also presents key concepts of developing a tangible user interface using technologies such as Arduino and reacTIVision to develop interactive table.