Application of information visualization techniques to the design of a mathematical mindtool: A usability study

Kamran Sedig*, Sonja Rowhani, Jim Morey, Hai Ning Liang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


One of the goals of information visualization is to support human thinking through the use of external visual aids. Mathematical mindtools can act as visual cognitive aids to enhance thinking and reasoning about mathematical objects and concepts. Although some mathematical mindtools incorporate information visualization techniques, the systematic use of these techniques in the design of these tools and their effect on users’ thinking and reasoning need to be investigated. A mathematical mindtool called PARSE (Platonic-Archimedean Solids Explorer) is presented in this paper. PARSE is intended to support the exploration and learning of a subset of geometric shapes. The mathematical objects and concepts embedded in PARSE have been enhanced using information visualization techniques. A usability study of PARSE and its information visualization techniques have been conducted and reported. The study shows that information visualization techniques enhance and support learning and exploration of mathematical concepts. The findings reported in this paper suggest that mathematical mindtools provide a fertile ground for investigating different information visualization techniques and their effectiveness in supporting learning tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-159
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Visualization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D geometric solids
  • Application of information visualization techniques
  • Learning
  • Mathematical mindtools
  • Usability study
  • Visually enhanced objects

Cite this