Integrating Statistics and Visualization
for Social Network Analysis
SocialAction is a social network analysis tool that integrates visualization and statistics to improve the analytical process.
A journal article about SocialAction was recently published in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications. See the full details in the papers below.
SocialAction won a VAST Mini-Challenge award for uncovering hidden structure in social networks over time.
There are also two recent conference publications about SocialAction! In January 2008, techniques on how to guide a user through a complex data analysis task will be presented in the Canary Islands at IUI 2008. In April 2008, case studies of how SocialAction led to insights among social network analysts will be presented in Florence at CHI 2008. See the full details in the papers below.
SocialAction aims to help researchers understand their social network data. Please contact Adam Perer if you'd like to find out if SocialAction can help you! Social network analysis (SNA) has emerged as a powerful method for understanding the importance of relationships in networks. However, interactive exploration of networks is currently challenging because: (1) it is difficult to find patterns and comprehend the structure of networks with many nodes and links, and (2) current systems are often a medley of statistical methods and overwhelming visual output which leaves many analysts uncertain about how to explore in an orderly manner.
Although both statistical methods and visualizations have been used by network analysts, exploratory data analysis
remains a challenge. We propose that a smooth integration
of these technologies in an interactive exploratory tool, SocialAction, could dramatically speed insight development.
- Flexibly iterate through visualizations of measures to gain an overview, filter nodes, and find outliers
- Aggregate networks using link structure, find cohesive subgroups, and focus on communities of interest
- Untangle networks by viewing different link types separately, or find patterns across different edge types using overview visualizations.
For each operation, a stable node layout is maintained in the network visualization so users can make comparisons.
SocialAction in Action
The following images demonstrate how SocialAction helps users make discoveries.
Click each image to view a larger version.
Understanding Voting Patterns Among United States Senators
new! Adam Perer and Ben Shneiderman: Integrating Statistics and Visualization for Exploratory Power: From Long-Term Case Studies to Design Guidelines, IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications 29, 3 (May/June 2009), 39-51.
Adam Perer and Ben Shneiderman: Integrating Statistics and Visualization: Case Studies of Gaining Clarity during Exploratory Data Analysis. SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2008)
Adam Perer, Ben Shneiderman: Systematic Yet Flexible Discovery: Guiding Domain Experts through Exploratory Data Analysis. International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI 2008)
Adam Perer, Ben Shneiderman: Balancing Systematic and Flexible Exploration of Social Networks. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (InfoVis 2006). 12(5): 693-700 (2006)
Adam Perer, Ben Shneiderman. Improving Interactive Exploration of Social Networks. International Sunbelt Social Network Conference (SUNBELT). (2006).
Adam Perer: Making sense of social networks. Extended Abstracts of ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems (CHI 2006) 2006: 1779-1782
Adam Perer, Ben Shneiderman. Orderly Analysis of Social Visualizations. Social Visualization Workshop at CHI 2006. (2006).
December 21, 2007. SocialAction is featured in Slate Magazine, which describes an analysis of the social networks of steroid users in Major League Baseball.
Early work on SocialAction and the case study evaluation method was supported by National Science Foundation grant SGER - 0633843: Developing Ethnographic Evaluations for Creativity Support Tools.