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Pantazos, K., Tarkan, S., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B. (April 2012)
Promoting Timely Completion of Multi-Step Processes - A Visual Approach to Retrospective Analysis

Multi-step processes are common in healthcare, software development, and other dynamic environments. Managers who monitor processes are overwhelmed by information, and often limited in the time to investigate data from different viewpoints. We propose a visual approach to facilitate retrospective analysis, to promote timely completion of multi-step processes, and improve performance. It uses a novel visualization called the Process Completion Diagram (PCD) that aggregates event-logs into in-time, late and not-completed completions, and visualizes those using shapes and colors. The interactive Multi-Step Process Visualization (MSPro- Vis) combines a number of PCDs and allows users to review and compare series of PCDs at three levels of detail, allowing comparisons between steps or between actors executing those steps. MSProVis computes default thresholds that define in-time and late completions. These might trigger alarms, and allow managers to adjust those thresholds interactively.

A pilot usability test with five participants showed that all participants could learn how to read almost all the information presented in the PCD without training in less than five minutes, and use MSProVis effectively. They carried out nine tasks successfully, which lasted on average seven minutes. Suggestions for improvement include color usage, and label and shape positioning.

Index Terms: Visual Analytics, Process Completion Diagram, Multi-Step Process Visualization.


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