usability, design, interaction design, information, web usability, user interface design, usability engineering,user testing, usability inspection, heuristic evaluation, webdesign, UI, GUI, HCI, user-centered design,human-computer interaction, mensch computer interaktion,universität konstanz, usability test, benutzerfreundlichkeit, mensch-maschine-interaktion, mensch-computer-interaktion, human-computer-interaction, usable, website usability, ergonomie, ergonomisch, psychologie, gestalt principles, scenario, information visualization,informationsvisualisierung, User Interface Evaluation, Usability testing, Human Factors, Erogonomic, Ergonomics, User Interfaces, User Interface, Interfaces, informations visualisierung, visual information seeking system, visual search interface, Mensch & Computer 2012Harald Reiterer


Visual Information Seeking Systems


Harald Reiterer


Simon Butscher





P602 (V) / C252 (Ü)


Wed 10:00 - 11:30 (V, P602) / Wed 11:45 - 13:15 (Ü, C252)


Learning Content
Today’s information spaces such as digital libraries, local file systems, data warehouses, Wikipedia or business data of a company continuously increase in size and complexity. Whereas enhanced search- and indexing techniques allow the access via conventional search queries, user interfaces that are used to search, browse and visualize results are often left unattended. In many cases are still user interfaces available that were used for decades without being redesigned.

The lecture "Visual Information Seeking Systems" discloses, how the application of interactive visualizations may help users to essentially enhance their information seeking process in terms of efficiency, effectiveness but also joy of use. The students will learn how to support users of information systems in the formulation of information needs through the use of appropriate visualizations and elaborate presentation techniques for results. By means of innovative user interfaces, such as animated zoomable user interfaces (ZUI) or new in- and output devices such as multi touch tabletop displays, traditional constraints often become blurred in terms of query formulation, result presentation and navigation.

Basic knowledge in Human-Computer Interaction and object-oriented programming skills.

Learning Objectives

  • The students will learn the potentials but also the constraints of interactive visualizations to support information seeking in digital information spaces (e.g. WWW, digital libraries, online databases).
  • Furthermore, different interaction concepts (e.g. ZUI) and their application on different devices (e.g. smart phones, desktop PCs, multi touch tabletop displays) will be disclosed.
  • The students will achieve a deep understanding of theoretical and conceptual issues in conjunction with the application of interactive visualizations and the embedding of appropriate interaction techniques.
  • The students will be able to independently design and implement an interactive visualization that inherits a high usability.

A total of 180 hours
  • 56 hours compulsory attendance
  • 124 hours home work

We recommend (although it is not required) to attend this lecture in combination with the lecture “Web Information Retrieval ” by Jun. Prof. Gipp, since the courses complement each other.






The proof of academic achievement consists of the following parts:

  • written exam about the theoretical part of the lecture (1 hour, mid-term!)
  • the participation in practical project and a rating of project milestones by the lecturer
  • presentation of practical project
  • term-paper in extended format of the presentation (e.g. Powerpoint)


  • Card, Stuart K.: Information Visualization. In: Jacko Julie A.; Sears Andrew (Eds.): The Human-Computer Interaction Handbook. Mahwah, NJ (Lawrence Erlbaum) 2003, pp.544-582.
  • Bederson B. B., Shneiderman B. (Hrsg.): The Craft of Information Visualization. Readings and Reflections.San Francisco, CA, Morgan Kaufmann, 2003
  • Card, Stuart K.; Mackinlay, Jock D.; Shneiderman, Ben (Hrsg.): Readings in Information Visualization. Using Vision to Think. San Francisco, CA (Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc.) 1999
  • Robert Spence; Information Visualization, Addison-Wesley, 2001
  • Reiterer, H.: Visuelle Exploration digitaler Datenbestände. In: Maximilian Eibl; Harald Reiterer; Peter F. Stephan; Frank Thissen (Eds.): Knowledge Media Design. Theorie, Methodik, Praxis., Oldenbourg, München, 2005, siehe:
  • Marti Hearst; User Interfaces and Visualization, in: Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Berthir Ribeiro-Neto; Modern Information Retrieval, acm Press, 1999
  • Gerken, Jens; Heilig, Mathias; Jetter, Hans-Christian; Rexhausen, Sebastian; Demarmels, Mischa; König, Werner A.; Reiterer, Harald: Lessons Learned from the Design and Evaluation of Visual Information Seeking Systems. in: Adam, Nabil; Furuta, Richard; Neuhold, Erich, Springer, International Journal on Digital Libraries, p. 49--66, Aug 2009