Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Faculty Publications


Interactive Visualization for Group Decision Analysis

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International Journal of Information Technology & Decision Making






World Scientific

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Identifying the best solutions to large infrastructure decisions is a context-dependent multi-dimensional multi-stakeholder challenge in which competing objectives must be identified and trade-offs made. Our aim is to identify and explore features in an interactive visualization tool to help make group decision analysis more participatory, transparent, and comprehensible. We extended the interactive visualization tool ValueCharts to create Group ValueCharts. The new tool was introduced in two real-world scenarios in which stakeholders were in the midst of wrestling with decisions about infrastructure investment. We modeled the alternatives under consideration, for both scenarios, using prescribed criteria identified by domain experts. Participants in both groups were given instructions on how to use the tool to represent their preferences. Preferences for all participants were then displayed and discussed. The discussions were audio-recorded and the participants were surveyed to evaluate usability. The results indicate that participants felt the tool improved group interaction and information exchange and made the discussion more participatory. They expressed that visualizing individual preferences improved the ability to analyze decision outcomes based on everyone’s preferences. Additionally, the participants strongly concurred that the tool revealed disagreements and agreements and helped identify sticking points. These results suggest that a group decision tool that allows group members to input their individual preferences and then collectively probe into any differences makes the process of decision-making more participatory, transparent, and comprehensible and increases the quality and quantity of information exchange.

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