The first, “Voyager: Exploratory Analysis via Faceted Browsing of Visualization Recommendations” (PDF), is co-authored by eScience Associate Director Bill Howe. In reviewing it, Few writes: “Voyager is a visual [exploratory data analysis] tool that the authors developed to test features that encourage and support broader data exploration. […] I’m particularly sensitive to the fact that good EDA tools support the user’s thinking process, making suggestions and doing much of the grunt work in a way that never takes control from the user and never subverts the thinking process. Good tools recognize that humans must do the thinking by augmenting the analytical process without becoming overbearing. The authors of this research seem to share my concern, which is no doubt because they actually understand the analytical process based on a great deal of thought and experience.”
The second paper Few discusses is “Automatic Selection of Partitioning Variables of Small Multiple Displays” (PDF), co-authored by Anushka Anand and Justin Talbot, and one he describes as “akin to the first in that it identified a real need, addressed it thoughtfully, and supports data sensemakers with useful suggestions.”
It’s a high compliment to receive such glowing remarks from Few, who closed his comments by saying, “Other worthwhile papers were presented this year at VisWeek, but these are the two that piqued my interest most. Unsurprisingly, a few of this year’s papers caught my attention for the wrong reasons.”
You can read Few’s full blog post here.