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Designing adaptive visualisation tools for Cybele

Good quality data is one of the most valuable assets today. It allows us, for example, to considerably improve the performance of farming, which is one of the primary purposes of Cybele. However, having data is not enough. We need the right tools to explore and analyse it.

When we create a tool thinking about specific user backgrounds and challenges, we are improving the process of finding rich and valuable conclusions and making decisions. These tools can boost analysts' and data scientists' productivity.

The visualisation team at Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) will develop an application for advanced data users, which will be used by data scientists and analysts to understand the outcomes and to report the conclusions to farmers.

The best approach to develop a technical tool is a methodology called "Human-centred Design". This methodology involves final users from the beginning and places them at the centre of the problem-solving design process.

Some applications are developed with the ideas and visualisations that the developing team has in mind. The result of this is an application that doesn’t help the actual end user. If we want to develop a useful tool, the user must be at the centre of the UX design.

One of the biggest challenges of a visualisation tool for Cybele is how many different use cases the project has. All of the demonstrators have different requirements. That’s why grouping requirements and applying generalisation is necessary.

The first process in the definition of the adaptive visualisation tool is called ‘Understand’. It is about understanding the problem (the project, market, available technologies) and understanding users (their needs and pain points, their goals, and requirements). To achieve this, we need to ask the final users what workflow they follow when they are dealing with data, and how they want to see this data visualised. Giving the user the visualisations that he is used to is usually the best approach.

Brainstorming session where potential users talk about their workflow and favourite tools


1 Comment

Pyotr Li
Pyotr Li
Jul 31, 2019

Hi Cybele! You are doing great work and I am a big supporter.

I agree with you on the "Human-centred Design".

A challenge that I have come across is the fact that users today do not know what they will want to visualise tomorrow. Insights always lead to more questions. I would argue strongly in favour of a flexible analysis and visualisation tool where the end user can build whatever dashboard or chart they want on the fly, explore the data with an intuitive, preferably low code solution that doesn't get in the way. Here is an article that goes into further depth of the flexible vs fixed dashboard (2 min read). Would love to hear your feedback.

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