Tactile Data

Sample Interview

Elicitation Interview about JS’s experience of reading a data visualisation (attached below)
Researcher: [R]
Interviewee: [I] (JS Female 33year old Business Analyst)
Data Visualization:

[R] Ok so what we are going to be doing here is an interview that will look at your experience of reading this data visualisation…. this approach tries to facilitate you to go back and recount an experience that you have had in the past and in this case we are looking at data visualizations and in particular we are trying to get at the moment in time when a visualization changes, for you, from a collection of abstract colours, shapes, patterns, numbers, letters into some sort of concrete knowledge on your behalf. The method we are using is the elicitation interview technique and we are trying to get you to describe the experience as it unfolded over time and then at certain points we are going to go back to specific moments during to probe these further.

[I] Ok
[R]..Ok, so can we go back to that moment when you read the data visualizations, did you read it once or twice
[I] Am, twice
[R] Twice, and so which occasion did you spend most time with it
[I] The first time.
[R] The first time, and what was your rationale for reading it the second time?
[I] am, just going back over it, just having another look to see if I see anything more
[R] Ok, was it just to confirm
[I] Yea yea
[R] Ok, so we will focus in on the first time you read it
[I] em hem
[R] ok, so when was this?
[I] ah, quarter past 7 this morning
[R] ok and where are you?
[I]  at work
[R] at work ok, so are you at a desk
[I]  I was at my desk yea
[R] and is it printed out?
[I] no it is on my computer screen
[R] ok, so is it on your computer screen in front of you?
[I] yes
[R] is it the only thing that is open on the computer screen?
[I]  am {long pause} I have a double screen and I have my outlook open on the left {pointing to the left} and I have the data visualization open on the right {pointing to the right}
[R] ok and how far to the right is it, is it 45 degrees?
[I] ah am, I am not sure of the exact angle but from where I am sitting I am looking at the exact centre of the two screens, with one on the right and one on the left {pointing to the right and then left}
[R] ok so it’s on the one on the right {pointing to JS’s right}
[I] yea yes

[R] and on the screen, is there anything around it
[I]  No
[R] Ok, are there any sounds in the environment if you go back to that time
[I] {3 second pause}…yea, because the reason I stopped looking at it was because of people arriving at work, so there is an increased level of noise, people are coming in
[R] ok, so is there any particular noise that you can remember during this time
[I] No not when I started, but towards the end when I was almost close to finishing looking at it, or it was more that when the noise got louder I made the decision myself, say ok no there is no point in looking at this anymore because I will be unable to concentrate on ot
[R] ok, so there are some ambient noise but some were louder, some noises are louder than others
[I] yes, people talking [R: ok] that is the noises
[R] ok, and when you are at your desk are you sitting or standing
[I] sitting
[R] are you sitting upright
[I] yea
[R] so are you very straight, is your back very straight or..
[I] {long pause}I can’t really recall, I am not 100% sure, it could be that I am leaning forward on the desk or I am sitting upright {bends forward and back in the chair}
[R] and are your hands on the table or are they on your body
[I] No I kinda think that I have the feeling that I am leaning forward, more leaning onto my hand {mimics the position}
[R] so leaning on your hand
[I] yea, underneath my chin {mimics the pose she was in}
[R] ok ok and you have the computer screen in front of you, is there anything else on the desk besides the computer screen?
[I] am {long pause} yea, I have my keyboard, I have my drink bottle, I have my coffee
[R] and where is you coffee, on the left or
[I]  on the left
[R] and is it strong coffee
[I] yes, strong and freshly made
[R] can you smell it, now
[I] yes very much so
[R] and the drink bottle is on the right?
[I]  no, they are both on my left

[R] Ok if you agree I would like you to go back to the time and place when you first begin to read the visualization and try to recount what you are doing as if you are doing it now…Once you are there, take your time
[I] OK {shuts eyes, pauses, then opens eyes and stares into space}
[R] Please tell me how do you start to read the visualization? [I: am] what is the first thing you do
[I] the first thing I notice while looking at the data visualization is the confusing, the kind of patterns of the data visualization so even before I even read the data itself I find the way that the patterns fitted together in the circle, in the pie chart ah it looks a bit dizzy
[R] Ok so is that the first thing you look at when you began to read?
[I] It is the, not necessarily specifically looking as in reading anything but it is the first impression when I opened the page
[R] ok it was the first thing that grabs your attention
[I]  the first thing that grabs my attention was am, it reminded me of a kind of a some kind of 3D thing, where it starts to move around that was the first thing that I saw before I even started looking at the actual data behind it [R] ok, so that grabs your attention what is it that you done next?
[I] am, the next thing I think was I kind of look at the most significant data that is there and…
[R] when you say most significant?
[I] it is the biggest parts of the pie [R: ok] so there is one at the bottom that displays almost 50% of the data and the is one that was almost kind of a third of the data and they are the ones that I looked at first [R: ok] to see and am the next thing I remember, I just read what they would represent [R: eh em] and what surprises me is the large amount of women staying at home minding the house, minding people, was almost a third of women
[R] ok ok so you focus in on the two largest chunks of the pie chart first [I: yea] and then what came next for you after that?
[I] am {long pause} yea I focus on the large ones and then look, ok what are the other ones made up of and am {long pause} I think initially it is more just reading the numbers but then it, ah, kind of I start, ok, I look at the data to see what is it about and, ah, it’s, I look at the smaller data as well so really to make sure that the economical status of women, what does that really mean, so it was what are women doing at that time or whatever that year and I kind of, am, I start looking to make sure I understand the chart to think about my own situation and people I know in my surroundings [R: eh em] and the surprise that I have about the large amount of women being at home which was a third and then I am surprised about the low number of women unemployed [R: eh em] that is a pretty small number and ah am I found that there is more women retired than unemployed [R: eh em]  but it is kind of pretty much the same and that there is more women studying than unemployed so I kind of put the different data pieces into relation with each other to to kind of try to understand and and I think by doing that that is a way for me to memorize it, no not necessarily memorizing it but understanding it and getting to grips with it
[R] Ok so when you say that you put the different parts together, how do you do this?
[I] How do I put things together is am… trying to in the environment that I am living then trying to apply what I am seeing so what I mean is, everyone knows that there is loads of unemployment in Ireland and the n you see data like this and there is a very small number that are unemployed and there are a huge number of women that are staying at home and minding the house and there are still 50% of them employed, [R: eh em]  so it is kind of putting them together as in applying the individual %’s to my own surroundings, do they make sense
[R] ok, so what was it you do next, you said that you have focused in on the detail of each section [I: yea] and thought about the implications of this [I: yea] what do you do next after that
[I] One of the things that I do notice next is, I read the title to go back over ok is this data only representing from one year but one thing that stuck out for me in the chart and I only began to look at this towards the end of it all as well was am the source and it was not very clear am it just said source CSO so kind of is that an Irish agency or whatever so I just thought ok it would be interesting to know how the data was put together and am the other thing was well I even think before I done that there was a few things that came into my mind {long pause} am ok if there is only about 7% or something like that unemployed because it is such a low number I started reasoning in my  head what could be the reason for such a low number and maybe the statistic means it’s only women who are  solely unemployed and do nothing else but maybe women who have a part-time job or are only working 5 hours a week and are still on the dole are they not considered unemployed anymore and how is that taken into account in the statistics so I think the more I looked at it the more I questioned the statistic and the more questions that came up that it would be interesting to know and to see more data behind it
[R] Ok so when you say you reasoned it in-your-head, how do you reason about this in your head?
[I] what I mean with that is the low number of women in that statistic didn’t seem logical to me so I tried to come up with a reason why could it be so low [R: eh em] and that’s what I mean I reason in my own head, what could it be that it is so low, maybe it is that ah because a lot of women that are minding their children at home they are not considered unemployed, maybe because it is that ah people are on-the-dole that they are still employed on a part- time basis so it is kind of I try to reason how come there is such a low number or percentage of women  unemployed when Ireland has such a large % of unemployment (…)

[R] So if it is ok for you to go back to a particular moment when you seem to be surprised that a number was so low
[I] yea, it is more the question “how come this number is so low”
[R] so so is it someone or something asking that question in-you-mind?
[I] yea I don’t know if it is someone or something or whatever, it feels, I feel that it is myself asking the question “how come this number is so low”
[R] and do you hear your own voice asking that question? is it your voice or is it someone else’s
[I] it is my thoughts, it is my voice, it is asking me the question using my voice
[R] Is that voice loud or quiet?
[I] no, it is normal
[R] just normal [I: yea] and is it from a distance away or is it from very close to you? if you try to go back to that time when you experienced those questions
[I] No it is not distant, it is just, it’s here it is with me
[R] is it behind you or in front of you [I: no] is it inside you?
[I] it is from insid
[R] Inside your body or inside your head
[I] oh, it is inside my head
[R] ok and it is just speaking in a normal voice, your normal, everyday voice [I: yea yea yea] ok and do you answer that question
[I] I am trying to answer it, if that voice is asking that question well then I am trying to answer that question

[R] ok, so when you have looked at these sections in detail and after you have posed these questions and attempted to answer them you mentioned that this was then close to the end your time reading the visualization, how do you know when you are finished?
[I] At no particular point did I feel that I was finished but that was when all the other colleagues arrived and there was one particular person arriving and she has an extremely loud voice and am… (…) I kind of said no I have to stop this now (…)
[R] and again when you say that “I have to stop this now” is that you again saying that in-your-head?
[I] yea that is me in-my-head saying it because I can’t, at that moment I have to stop this because I can’t concentrate on my own thought processes that I’d need
[R] Ok so how do you finish with it then?
[I] am {long pause} I was fairly annoyed that I had to stop because that person was annoying me so really I didn’t finish by saying, it was kind of two ways now, on one way I am ok that’s interesting data and I am going to close this now and on the other half was “god that person is annoying me” so as I was finishing it I was already  entering another thought process with the groups and what they are talking about and my mind was occupied
[R] ok good, and when you were finish do you close down the document

[I] am no I left it open, I had it opened as a separate tab on my Internet Explorer and I thought I’d leave it open in case I will just come back to it at a later stage am but I I think I got up from my desk [[R] you stood up?] I stood up because at that stage the people that were right across from me were talking as well and I kind of go involved  in their conversation
[R] ok, so if we go, one of the things that you said at one point was that you felt a sense of surprise when you saw a large amount of women that stay at home with their family [I: em] can you describe how that sense of surprise came over you? Is it something that happened over a prolonged time or..
[I] No I feel that it was at the start
[R] and is it a shock surprise or was it …
[I] no it wasn’t such a shock it was more “oh I wouldn’t have thought that” so it wasn’t a “Oh my god” surprise it was just, it is interesting
[R] ok so when you say “oh I wouldn’t have thought that” again is that a voice in-your-head saying that
[I] yea {abrupt}
[R] and, and when you say that “oh I wouldn’t have thought that” what do you do at that point, how does that change your viewing of the chart
[I] em {long pause} I think that is what, I don’t know if it changes it, I think it brought me onto the other parts of the data to see what are the other women doing if such a large part are staying at home and like 2 thirds of women are either working or staying at home, so what are the other ones made up of and the other thing as well is ah am that it brought thoughts into my head of women actually minding home, like mothers staying at home
[R] ok and when you say it brings thoughts of mothers…
[I] I could see women working in the kitchen
[R] now?
[I] now as well but I could see women working in the kitchen as I looked at the charts, it is this kind of visual of the kind of what is portrayed of women working and minding at home, so it is women minding old people or minding families members or things like that
[R] Ok so when you said there that you saw images of women minding people at home, are they images of women that you know, do you recognize any of their faces?
[I] No {long pause, looks into space} they are more
[R] Is it you?
[I] No
[R] are they familiar to you
[I] No, I don’t think so, it is more like you see them in an ad, a stereotype of a housewife
[R] ok and so can you remember at that point were you looking at the pie chart or do they appear in front of you, the images I mean
[I] am, I can say that they appeared in-my-head, I can’t say that they appeared in front of me, it was in my head
[R] are they clear or fuzy
[I] No they are fairly clear
[R] were they moving, is it like a film or a photograph
[I] No they are moving
[R] are you in it? could you see yourself looking at the film or could you just see the film
[I] just the film
[R] is it a distance away
[I] No, it’s close, I don’t, I don’t feel like watching it from a distance or like a film in a cinema, they are just in my head [R: ok]

(…) [R] Ok and how do you try to bring people that you know into this, if we go back to you reading the chart, how does that happen?
[I] god I don’t know how it happens, it just happens
[R] Do you see images of these people you know, do you hear sounds from the people that you know? [I: no] Do you see any images or sounds from yourself? [I: no] how do you connect sections of the chart with your own situation or of people that you know, is it just a sense?
[I] It is just a sense, it is just a thought, it’s not that I see or hear them
[R] so it is just a feeling
[I] yea
[R] and is that a warm feeling
[I] {long pause} I don’t know it is just a feeling
[R] so it is a feeling you get when you look at a section of the chart and you associate that section with yourself or someone you know?
[I] It is not a section that is associated with me it’s more how do I, my life, my surroundings fit into that data, so this is a data visualization of Irish women and how or would I feel the same data from my friends do I get a sense that what I am seeing is true to what I see in my life [R: ok] but I can’t necessarily say that I see people that I know, it is more or less just a feeling I get

[R] ok so I am now going to go through what you experienced and if I leave out anything please stop me [I: yes] [R] ok so you were at work sitting in front of your computer screen, you were sitting down your hands may have been on the table or supporting your chin, the screen was slightly to the right of you, there were some ambient sounds but some were more distractive particularly at the end [I: yea, really much at the end] and there was a cup of coffee and a bottle of water on the left side of the table. So when you started the first thing that grabbed your attention was the patterns, how garish and possibly how they looked like 3D images because of the use of these particular patterns
[I] Yea it was just kind of I just thought that who would represent data like that because it was very hard on the eye
[R] ok so then you began to focus on the two largest sections and you felt a sense of surprise after reading one of these, then you, that triggered you to move on and look into more detail at the other small sections and you began to analyze the implications of these and at a certain point you began to connect your own situation and how you possibly would be placed into this chart and how people around you fit into this data [I: yes] so once you have do that then there came a point when someone in your office was particularly loud and this distracted you and you felt that you had to close the document without feeling that you had finished reading it fully
[I] What I would say is that I was in the middle of my thought process when that interruption came, so I was not satisfied that I had got my head fully around the chart and yea I was not satisfied at all
[R] ok so you were distracted by someone and then finished it at that point
[I] I just made a conscious decision that at that point and with the things going on around me I couldn’t concentrate…
[R] but you didn’t close you left it open in a separate tab so if you wanted to go back to it you could, ok so did I leave out any detail that you would like to add
[I] no
[R] no, ok thanks very much the interview is now complete.


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