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Abstract

This paper is concerned with interaction design for visualization-based computational tools that support the performance of complex cognitive activities, such as analytical reasoning, sense making, decision making, problem solving, learning, planning, and knowledge discovery. In this paper, a number of foundational concepts related to interaction and complex cognitive activities are syncretized into a coherent theoretical framework. This framework is general, in the sense that it is applicable to all technologies, platforms, tools, users, activities, and visual representations. Included in the framework is a catalog of 32 fundamental epistemic action patterns, with each action pattern being characterized and examined in terms of its utility in supporting different complex cognitive activities. This catalog of action patterns is comprehensive, covering a broad range of interactions that are performed by a diverse group of users for all kinds of tasks and activities. The presented framework is also generative, in that it can stimulate creativity and innovation in research and design for a number of domains and disciplines, including data and information visualization, visual analytics, digital libraries, health informatics, learning sciences and technologies, personal information management, decision support, information systems, and knowledge management.

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