My research – situated at the intersection of human computer interaction, information visualization, and data science – grapples with a growing paradox: even though increasing amounts of data are released for the general public, generated by the general public, and collected about the general public, these data sets, and the valuable insights they may contain, are still largely inaccessible to the general public. The ability to find meaning within data is usually exclusive to expert audiences, who have extensive training, pre-existing knowledge about the nature of the data itself, as well as access to specialized methods and tools for data analysis. However, we are beginning to understand that democratizing data – enabling the general public to work with and understand data – can have beneficial impact on society, such as bringing cost savings, improving sustainability, fostering scientific discovery, and increasing informed participation in the democratic dialog. In my research, I am focusing on how novel interactive technology coupled with innovative visualization techniques can enable the general public to understand the structure of, formulate questions about, and interpret the meaning of data. In particular, I am interested how interactive technology, such as large scale multi-touch displays, can enable groups of non-experts engage with data and thus introduce the analysis of data to environments that are inherently social, such as classrooms, museums and homes.
Research conducted during my PhD at Lancaster University – Touch-Display Keyboards, VoodooSketch and two-handed interaction with touchpad and mouse: