Feiyu Lu, Difeng Yu, Hai-Ning Liang, Wenjun Chen, Konstantinos Papangelis, and Nazlena Mohamad Ali.
Evaluating engagement level and analytical support of interactive visualizations in virtual reality environments.
In Proceedings of the IEEE International Symposium for Mixed and Augmented Reality 2018 (To appear). 2018.
Interactive visualizations are external cognitive artifacts aimed at supporting users' exploratory and sense-making activities. In recent years, there has been an explosion of commercial virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD). These VR devices are meant to offer high levels of engagement and improve users' analytical exploration of the displayed content. However, given their rapid market introduction, the possible influences and usefulness that VR could bring in terms of supporting users' exploration with interactive visualizations remain largely underexplored. We attempt to fill this gap and provide results of an empirical study of an interactive visualization tool that we have developed for a VR HMD system. This tool is aimed at facilitating exploratory and analytical reasoning activities with 3D shapes and their transformational processes. Overall, the results show that the tool is supportive of users' exploratory and analytical activities based on the significant improvement in their post-experiment test scores (when compared to their pre-experiment ones) and their engagement level measured via a user engagement questionnaire and participants' comments. The results shed a positive light on the use of visualizations in VR environments and can inform the design of these tools of domains beyond 3D transformational geometry.