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Visualization of Entities Within Social Media: Toward Understanding Users' Needs



Social media platforms are taking a more central role in enterprises to enable employees to communicate, share knowledge, and self-organize outside the traditional organizational chart. As a result, new tools are needed to help users process, understand, and make decisions based on the complex relationships between the people, communities, and content in these new online social structures. To understand user needs and preferences, we developed fourteen social media data visualization concepts and conducted a user evaluation of these concepts. Both the usefulness of the underlying data relationships and the usability of each data visualization concept were evaluated. We found divergent, and in some cases, counter-intuitive preferences among users, such as the desire for “big picture” visualization but with filtering on key topics or people of interest. In addition, several “modes of operation” were identified to help explain the variety of responses and highlight the competing information processing issues users contend with to achieve their goals.© 2013 Alcatel-Lucent.