Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (PhDIS)


Business and Information Systems

First Advisor

Cherie Noteboom

Second Advisor

Jun Liu

Third Advisor

Surendra Sarnikar


Humans have several exceptional abilities, one of which is the perceptual tasks of their visual sense. Humans have the unique ability to perceive data and identify patterns, trends, and outliers. This research investigates the design of interactive visualizations to identify the benefits of interacting with information. The research question leading the investigation is how does interacting with visualizations support analytical reasoning of emergent information to activate knowledge? The study uses the theory of distributed cognition and human-information interaction to apply the design science research framework. The motivation behind the research is to identify guidelines for interactive visualizations to enhance a user’s ability to make decisions in dynamic situations and apply knowledge gleaned from the visualization. An experiment is used to analyze the use of an interactive dashboard in a dynamic decision-making situation. The results of this experiment specifically look at the combination of interactions as they support the distribution of cognition over three spaces of a human-visualization cognitive system. The results provide insight into the benefits that interactions have for enhancing analytical reasoning, expanding the use of visualizations beyond communicating or disseminating information. Providing a broad range of interactions that work with multiple views of information increases the opportunities that users have to complete tasks. This research contributes to the information visualization discipline by expanding the focus from representing data to representing and interacting with information. Secondly, my results provide an example of a qualitative assessment based on the value of visualization, in comparison to traditional usability assessment.