Proceedings of BELIV '06, pp.38-43.
After an historical review of evaluation methods, we describe an emerging research method called Multi-dimensional In-depth Long-term Case studies (MILCs) which seems well adapted to study the creative activities that users of information visualization systems engage in. We propose that the efficacy of tools can be assessed by documenting 1) usage (observations, interviews, surveys, logging etc.) and 2) expert users’ success in achieving their professional goals. We summarize lessons from related ethnography methods used in HCI and provide guidelines for conducting MILCs for information visualization. We suggest ways to refine the methods for MILCs in modest sized projects and then envision ambitious projects with 3-10 researchers working over 1-3 years to understand individual and organizational use of information visualization by domain experts working at the frontiers of knowledge in their fields.