Effects of Graph Embellishments on the Perception of System States in Mobile Monitoring Tasks
Monitoring of critical systems such as large server parks require suitable visualization tools that draw the attention to essential aspects of system state to ensure continuous operation. Moreover, administration is increasingly performed using mobile devices giving operators more freedom. Mobile device form factors limit the amount of data that can be displayed. This study explores if visual embellishments in data visualizations improve the perception of system states for mobile administrators. The RRDtool time series data visualizer, which is deployed by the Munin monitoring tool, is used as basis and compared to an experimental monitoring tool that employs visual embellishment enhancements. Talk aloud system monitoring sessions were employed with 24 IT-professionals both with and without Munin experience. The results show that the embellishments results in significantly shorter time to interpret the views while they do not significantly help determine the general characteristics of the views. Previous experience with Munin had limited effect on performance. One implications of this work is that embellishments can help focus attention towards important state changes in mobile visualizations.
Keywordssystem administration embellishments mobile monitoring
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