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  Principle Name: Reduce visual complexity to help learners recognize salient information            
  Created by: Linn, Davis, Bell
  Last change by Editorial Board at 2007-12-25 07:06:41
  
Images of connected features:
 
Heat flow model
 
Manipulative animated 3D illustrations in Geo3D
 
Cybertracker: A tool supporting biodiversity data collection
 
DC Circuits: Constructing circuits (systems) from separate components.
 
Oscillation and Resonance Simulation
 
WorldWatcher Notebook windows
 
WorldWatcher Diagram Windows
 
Interactive map of learning environment
 
Global Warming Model
 
Dynamic zooming between macro and micro phenomena (phase change)
 
Time-travel machine animation
 
Two-dimensional map in the Virtual Solar System (VSS)
 
Visual representations of abstract entities in the Virtual Solar System (VSS)
 
Data Query (The Galapagos Finches)
 
Content organized by nested resizeable boxes in Boxer
 
Objective-Inquiry Graphic
 
Principle Maker
 
Video Analysis Tools
 
Interactive family tree
 
Interactive family tree
 
Comparison of similar visualizations
 
Hands-on examples of molecular visualization content

Connections 
Meta-Principles connections:
  • Make Thinking Visible
  • Make Contents Accessible
  • Features connections:
  • Heat flow model
  • Thermal Equilibrium activity
  • Manipulative animated 3D illustrations in Geo3D
  • Cybertracker: A tool supporting biodiversity data collection
  • DC Circuits: Constructing circuits (systems) from separate components.
  • Oscillation and Resonance Simulation
  • WISE Advance Guidance page for Web sites
  • WorldWatcher Notebook windows
  • WorldWatcher Diagram Windows
  • Review of change over time.
  • Pedagogica--a tool for embedding tools and models into educational activities.
  • Interactive map of learning environment
  • Animation Creation Tool
  • Global Warming Model
  • Dynamic zooming between macro and micro phenomena (phase change)
  • Time-travel machine animation
  • Two-dimensional map in the Virtual Solar System (VSS)
  • Guided inquiry integrated in the Virtual Solar System (VSS)
  • Visual representations of abstract entities in the Virtual Solar System (VSS)
  • Data Query (The Galapagos Finches)
  • Content organized by nested resizeable boxes in Boxer
  • Objective-Inquiry Graphic
  • Principle Maker
  • Video Analysis Tools
  • Interactive family tree
  • Comparison of similar visualizations
  • Hands-on examples of molecular visualization content
  • Combining online drawing tools and dynamic visualizations


  • Description:
    This principle calls for reducing the complexity of any type of visualization by eliminating functionality and details that distract from the main concept. When designing a visualization, designers need to carefully consider the sort of feedback students need. To succeed, designers need to analyze both the student repertoire of ideas and the nature of the visualization. Of course, visualizations can also oversimplify and interfere with learning. Visualizations need an optimal level of complexity appropriate for the specific learning goal and target audience. Finding the right balance requires characterization of the repertoire of ideas the target audience holds. In most cases, finding the right level of complexity requires several design and enactment iterations.
    Theoretical background: 

    Tips (Challenges, Limitations, Tradeoffs, Pitfalls):
    Pitfall: Make sure not to over simplify.

    References (Off-line):
    1) Foley, B. (2000). Visualization tools: Models, representations and knowledge Integration. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
    2) Morrison, J.B., Tversky, B., & Betrancourt, M. (2002). Animation: Does it facilitate? International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 57, 247-262.
    Summary of changes (wiki):
    Major update to to text
    History