uta hinrichs


Open-Ended Explorations in Exhibition Spaces
A Case for Information Visualization and Large Direct-Touch Displays

Over the past few years, large direct-touch information displays have become more common place in exhibition spaces such as museums, libraries, and art galleries. Their interactive capabilities and size offer opportunities to present information to visitors in an engaging yet informative way. However, the characteristics of exhibition spaces, such as broad and diverse audiences, brief interaction times, and self-guided, open-ended exploration styles present challenges to the design of such information displays. While a number of large display installations have been designed and deployed as interactive exhibits in public spaces, their potential and their particular role as digital information exhibits is still largely underexplored. In this doctoral thesis, I present four case studies that investigate how self-guided and open-ended information exploration can be promoted using visualization-based large display exhibits, how shared interactions with large display exhibits can be characterized, and how multi-touch capabilities influence walk-up-and-use interaction in exhibition spaces.

The first case study, memory [en]code, constitutes an initial investigation of how to support walk-up-and-use information exploration on direct-touch tabletop displays in the context of an art gallery. This case study touches upon the concepts of serendipity, participation, and visual aesthetics as different ways to promote individual and collaborative engagement with information via direct-touch displays. The second case study, EMDialog, further explores these aspects by investigating how museum visitors, individually and collaboratively, experience interactive information visualizations as part of an exhibition of traditional paintings. The third case study, the Bohemian Bookshelf, investigates the role of serendipity for open-ended information exploration. The Bohemian Bookshelf is discussed as one example of how serendipitous discoveries can be deliberately promoted by combining information visualization with large direct-touch displays in the context of library book collections. In the fourth case study that was conducted at the Vancouver Aquarium, I investigate visitors' individual and collaborative interactions with two different third-party multi-touch tabletop exhibits---the Collection Viewer and the Arctic Choices table. This case study focuses on how the interface design influences individual and collaborative exploration strategies around public tabletop exhibits and investigates the role of multi-touch gestures as part of open-ended information exploration.

This doctoral research contributes to the areas of information visualization, museum studies, and interactive surfaces on a design and empirical level. As a primary contribution, I introduce the idea of promoting open-ended and self-guided information exploration in exhibition spaces by combining information visualization with large display technology and direct-touch interaction. As part of this I take on a new perspective on serendipity, as one important aspect of open-ended information exploration. I show how serendipitous discoveries can be promoted through visualization-based large display exhibits. Through empirical studies that I conducted in three different real-life exhibition spaces, my research shows how visitors experience and interact with large display exhibits. In particular, I contribute a detailed characterization of the range of collaborative activities that evolve around visualization-based large display and how these are influenced by the interface and interaction design of exhibits. Furthermore, my research provides insights on how multi-touch gestures are spontaneously applied as part of walk-up-and-use information explorations around large display exhibits. On a methodological level, the field studies discussed as part of this thesis expand on qualitative methods in the context of real-world, uncontrolled study settings. Lastly, the four case studies as a whole show how visitor expectations toward large direct-touch exhibits have changed across the years and provide a glimpse into future research directions.


Journal Article

Uta Hinrichs, Holly Schmidt and Sheelagh Carpendale. EMDialog: Bringing Information Visualization into the Museum. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings Visualization / Information Visualization 2008), 14(6):1181-1188, November-December, 2008.

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Conference Papers

Alice Thudt, Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale. The Bohemian Bookshelf: Supporting Serendipitous Book Discoveries through Information Visualization. In CHI '12: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 1461-1470, May, 2012.

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Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale. Gestures in the Wild: Studying Multi-Touch Gesture Sequences on Interactive Tabletop Exhibits. In CHI'11: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 3023-3032, May, 2011.

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Holly Schmidt, Uta Hinrichs, Alan Dunning and Sheelagh Carpendale. memory [en]code - Building a Collective Memory within a Tabletop Installation. In Proceedings of Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging 2007 (CAe'07). Eurographics Association, pages 135 - 142, June, 2007.

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Book Chapter

Petra Isenberg, Uta Hinrichs, Mark Hancock and Sheelagh Carpendale. Digital Tables for Collaborative Information Exploration. In Mueller-Tomfelde, Christian (Ed.) Tabletops---Horizontal Interactive Displays, pages 387-406. Springer Verlag, 2010.

Workshop Contribution

Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale. Making Sense of Wild Data: Using Visualization to Analyze In-the-Wild Video Records. In Research in the Wild workshop, DIS'12, 2012. http://www.researchinthewild.org.

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Other Contributions

Uta Hinrichs, Nina Valkanova, Kai Kuikkaniemi, Giulio Jacucci, Sheelagh Carpendale and Ernesto Arroyo. Large Displays in Urban Life: from Exhibition Halls to Media Facades. In CHI '11: Extended Abstracts of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2011. A CHI 2011 workshop;http://largedisplaysinurbanlife.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/.

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Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale. Interactive Tables in the Wild - Visitor Experiences with Multi-Touch Tables in the Arctic Exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium. Technical Report 2010-973-22, University of Calgary, 2010.

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Uta Hinrichs, Holly Schmidt, Tobias Isenberg, Mark S. Hancock and Sheelagh Carpendale. BubbleType: Enabling Text Entry within a Walk-Up Tabletop Installation. Research report 2008-893-06, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Canada, February, 2008.

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