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Integrating Sonification and Visualization: A Systematic Review of Audiovisual Displays for Data Exploration and Presentation


Core Concepts
Audiovisual display idioms that systematically integrate sonification and visualization offer potential for enhanced data exploration and presentation compared to unimodal approaches.
Abstract
This state-of-the-art report provides a comprehensive overview of academic contributions that blend sonification and visualization within the context of data exploration and data presentation. The authors first provide background on the field of sonification and its relation to visualization. They then describe their systematic literature search and filtering process, which resulted in a corpus of 57 relevant publications from 2011 to 2023. The authors classify the literature along various dimensions, including: Purpose (exploration, presentation, or both) Visualization and sonification techniques used Reading level, search level, and data types Mapping redundancy between visual and auditory channels Evaluation methods Target platforms and interaction possibilities User groups and design goals Through this classification, the authors identify key trends, design patterns, and research gaps in the field of integrated audiovisual displays. They also discuss three adjacent topics - accessibility, monitoring, and data art - that are related to but not the primary focus of this review. The findings of this report can help researchers from both the visualization and sonification communities understand the potentials and challenges of such integrated designs, while hopefully inspiring them to collaborate across disciplines.
Stats
"Audiovisual display idioms that systematically integrate sonification and visualization offer potential for enhanced data exploration and presentation compared to unimodal approaches." "The authors classify the literature along various dimensions, including: Purpose (exploration, presentation, or both), Visualization and sonification techniques used, Reading level, search level, and data types, Mapping redundancy between visual and auditory channels, Evaluation methods, Target platforms and interaction possibilities, User groups and design goals."
Quotes
"Both the theoretical cross-pollination and the practical integration and combination of sonification and visualization offer potential for interesting research outcomes." "We believe that a well-designed audiovisual representation can be more than the mere sum of a visual and an auditory representation." "The findings of this report may be used by researchers from both fields to understand the potentials and challenges of such integrated designs while hopefully inspiring them to collaborate with experts from the respective other field."

Deeper Inquiries

How can the integration of sonification and visualization be leveraged to support collaborative data analysis between users with different sensory abilities?

The integration of sonification and visualization can be a powerful tool to support collaborative data analysis among users with different sensory abilities. By combining auditory and visual representations of data, this approach can cater to a wider range of users, including those who may have visual impairments or prefer auditory information. Enhanced Accessibility: Sonification can provide an alternative way for users with visual impairments to access and interpret data. By converting visual information into sound, individuals who are blind or have low vision can participate in data analysis collaboratively with sighted users. Complementary Information: The combination of sonification and visualization can offer complementary information that enhances the overall understanding of the data. Users with different sensory abilities can leverage both auditory and visual cues to gain a more comprehensive insight into the data being analyzed. Improved Communication: Audiovisual display idioms can facilitate better communication among users with diverse sensory abilities. By presenting data in multiple modalities, individuals can share their interpretations and insights more effectively, leading to more productive collaborative analysis sessions. Increased Engagement: The integration of sonification and visualization can make data analysis more engaging and interactive for all users. By appealing to multiple senses, collaborative analysis sessions can be more dynamic and stimulating, encouraging active participation from all team members.

How can the potential drawbacks or limitations of audiovisual display idioms compared to unimodal approaches be addressed?

While audiovisual display idioms offer numerous benefits, they also come with potential drawbacks and limitations that need to be addressed for effective implementation: Cognitive Load: The combination of auditory and visual information may increase cognitive load for users, especially if the audiovisual display is complex or overwhelming. To address this, designers should strive for simplicity and clarity in their audiovisual designs, ensuring that the information presented is easily digestible. User Preferences: Not all users may prefer audiovisual displays, as individual preferences for sensory modalities can vary. To address this limitation, it is essential to provide users with the option to customize the display settings based on their preferences, allowing them to choose between audio, visual, or combined modes of presentation. Interpretation Challenges: Audiovisual displays may introduce challenges in interpreting the data accurately, as users need to process information from multiple modalities simultaneously. Designers should focus on creating cohesive and intuitive audiovisual representations that facilitate seamless integration of auditory and visual cues for enhanced data interpretation. Technical Complexity: Implementing audiovisual display idioms can be technically challenging, requiring expertise in both visualization and sonification techniques. To address this limitation, interdisciplinary collaboration between experts in visualization, sonification, and human-computer interaction is essential to ensure the successful integration of audio and visual elements in data analysis tools.

What insights can be gained by applying theories and frameworks from other multimodal interaction domains, such as virtual/augmented reality or human-robot interaction, to the design of audiovisual display idioms?

Drawing insights from other multimodal interaction domains, such as virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) and human-robot interaction (HRI), can enrich the design of audiovisual display idioms in data analysis: Spatial Awareness: VR/AR frameworks can provide valuable insights into spatial audio design, enabling the creation of immersive audiovisual environments that enhance users' spatial awareness during data analysis. By leveraging principles from VR/AR, audiovisual display idioms can offer users a sense of presence and spatial orientation within the data space. User Engagement: Lessons from HRI can inform the design of interactive audiovisual displays that promote user engagement and collaboration. By incorporating principles of human-robot interaction, designers can create audiovisual interfaces that respond to user input, adapt to user preferences, and facilitate seamless communication between users and the data being analyzed. Sensory Integration: Insights from multimodal interaction domains can guide the integration of auditory and visual stimuli in a harmonious and coherent manner. By applying theories of sensory integration from VR/AR and HRI, designers can ensure that audiovisual display idioms effectively combine auditory and visual cues to enhance data comprehension and user experience. Feedback Mechanisms: Frameworks from HRI can offer valuable insights into designing effective feedback mechanisms in audiovisual displays. By incorporating principles of human-robot interaction, designers can create interactive audiovisual interfaces that provide users with real-time feedback, guidance, and support during the data analysis process. By leveraging theories and frameworks from diverse multimodal interaction domains, designers can enrich the design of audiovisual display idioms, creating more immersive, engaging, and user-friendly interfaces for collaborative data analysis.
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