Skip to main content


Du, F., Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C., Malik, S., Perer, A. (April 2015)
Coping with Volume and Variety in Temporal Event Sequences: Strategies for Sharpening Analytic Focus
To appear in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (2016) [Published Version]

The growing volume and variety of data presents both opportunities and challenges for visual analytics. Addressing these challenges is needed for big data to provide valuable insights and novel solutions for business, security, social media, and healthcare. In the case of temporal event sequence analytics it is the number of events in the data and variety of temporal sequence patterns that challenges users of visual analytic tools. This paper describes 14 strategies for sharpening analytic focus that analysts can use to reduce the data volume and pattern variety. Four groups of strategies are proposed: (1) extraction strategies, (2) temporal folding, (3) pattern simplification strategies, and (4) iterative strategies. For each strategy we provide examples of use and of the impact of this strategy on volume and/or variety. Examples are selected from 18 case studies gathered from either our own work, the literature, or based on email interviews with application developers and analysts. Finally, we discuss how these strategies might be combined and opportunities for new technologies and user interfaces.

Longitudinal Search Study Screenshot

Longitudinal Search Study
More information

Tech Reports
Video Reports
Annual Symposium

Seminars + Events
HCIL Seminar Series
Annual Symposium
HCIL Service Grants
Events Archives
HCIL Conference Travel Award
Job Openings
For the Press
HCIL Overview
Become a Member
Collaborating Groups + People
Academic Visitors
Join our Mailing List
Contact Us
Visit Us
HCIL Store
Give the HCIL a Hand
HCIL T-shirts for Sale
Our Lighter Side
HCIL Memories Page
Faculty/ Staff
Ph.D. Alumni
Past Members
Research Areas
Design Process
Digital Libraries
Physical Devices
Public Access
Research Histories
Faculty Listed by Research
Project Highlights
Project Screenshots
Publications and TRs
Studying HCI
Masters in HCI
PhD in HCI
Visiting Scholars
Class Websites
Sponsor our Research
Sponsor our Annual Symposium
Active Sponsorship
Industrial Visitors