Methods and a research agenda for the evaluation of event sequence visualization techniques
The present paper asks how can visualization help data scientists make sense of event sequences, and makes three main contributions. The first is a research agenda, which we divide into methods for presentation, interaction & computation, and scale-up. Second, we introduce the concept of Event Maps to help with scale-up, and illustrate coarse-, medium- and fine-grained Event Maps with electronic health record (EHR) data for prostate cancer. Third, in an experiment we investigated participants' ability to judge the similarity of event sequences. Contrary to previous research into categorical data, color and shape were better than position for encoding event type. However, even with simple sequences (5 events of 3 types in the target sequence), participants only got 88% correct despite averaging 7.4 seconds to respond. This indicates that simple visualization techniques are not effective.