The Four-Level Nested Model Revisited: Blocks and Guidelines

Miriah Meyer, Michael Sedlmair, and Tamara Munzner

Abstract | Paper | Panel Talk | HighRes Figures
The extended nested model explicitly includes blocks that are the outcomes of the design process within a level, represented by individual shapes within each level, and guidelines for making choices between these blocks, represented by arrows. Between-level guidelines are called mappings, and within-level guidelines are called comparisons.


We propose an extension to the four-level nested model for design and validation of visualization systems that defines the term "guidelines" in terms of blocks at each level. Blocks are the outcomes of the design process at a specific level, and guidelines discuss relationships between these blocks. Within-level guidelines provide comparisons for blocks within the same level, while between-level guidelines provide mappings between adjacent levels of design. These guidelines help a designer choose which abstractions, techniques, and algorithms are reasonable to combine when building a visualization system. This definition of guideline allows analysis of how the validation efforts in different kinds of papers typically lead to different kinds of guidelines. Analysis through the lens of blocks and guidelines also led us to identify four major needs: a definition of the meaning of block at the problem level; mid-level task taxonomies to fill in the blocks at the abstraction level; refinement of the model itself at the abstraction level; and a more complete set of guidelines that map up from the algorithm level to the technique level. These gaps in visualization knowledge present rich opportunities for future work.


The Four-Level Nested Model Revisited: Blocks and Guidelines
Workshop on BEyond time and errors: novel evaLuation methods for Information Visualization (BELIV), 2012.

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Panel Talk

Panel talk jointly given by Miriah Meyer and Michael Gleicher at BELIV 2012 in Seattle, WA, USA (October 14-15).
PDF Slides (4.4 MB)

HighRes Figures

Blocks and Mappings:

Michael Sedlmair
Last modified: Jan 28, 2013