Visualizing Probabilistic Demographic Predictions in Swedish Municipalities : A Multidimensional Broad Intermediate-term Case Study
Abstract: Understanding the demographics of a municipality and how it changes over time is crucial to the municipal development. This master’s thesis aims to evaluate how interactive Information Visualization can aid civil servants in their work with demographic predictions. Over a period of ten weeks a prototype interface, for visualizing historic- and predicted demographic data, was developed in close cooperation with ten expert users at three different municipalities in Sweden. The dataset consisted of some two million data points. The prototype exemplifies how a generic Information Visualization application can be implemented with a Model View Controller architecture. Development and design was driven by known Information Visualization principles and Human-Computer Interaction heuristics. The initial needs analysis concluded the most essential parameters of the dataset to be age, year and region. In addition to these three parameters emphasis is put on visualizing uncertainty in the predicted data. The study ended with an evaluation of the prototype against the participants’ current practices. The evaluation employed both qualitative and quantitative analysis. On average, the participants performed 4.7 times faster with the prototype. There was no significant difference in success rate. All of the participants claimed that the prototype would make their jobs easier. The impact of the prototype is discussed in terms of improved efficiency, comprehension, communication and exploration of the dataset. Furthermore a list of nine usability issues and six desired features was compiled.
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