E. Morse and M. Lewis. Testing visual information retrieval methodologies case study: Comparative analysis of textual, icon, graphical, and “spring” displays. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(1):28–40, 2002. [pdf]
Although many different visual information retrieval systems have been proposed, few have been tested, and where testing has been performed, results were often inconclusive. Further, there is very little evidence of benchmarking systems against a common standard. An approach for testing novel interfaces is proposed that uses bottom-up, stepwise testing to allow evaluation of a visualization, itself, rather than restricting evaluation to the system instantiating it. This approach not only makes it easier to control variables, but the tests are also easier to perform. The methodology will be presented through a case study, where a new visualization technique is compared to more traditional ways of presenting data.