Visualization and Behavior Group - overview

In the Visualization and Behavior Group we take the perspective that data visualization should make data analytics accessible to anyone, not just the data's experts. We also believe that using social software for communication is the new norm, not a trend. We ask questions related to this world where people communicate through social media and gain insight into their world with data visualization.

Our group builds innovative visual interfaces, designs novel user experiences for exploring analytics, and analyzes users' behavior in terms of motivations, incentives, and cultural influences.

Some questions that keep us up at night:

  • What does it take to trust the results shown in a visualization?
  • How is your cultural background and orientation reflected in your communication?
  • How does culture influence your interpretation of a visualization?
  • How can interactivity help people explore advanced analytical models?
  • How do you design a visualization for streaming data, when you don't know what you have until you have it?



Cultural Computing. Global enterprises increasingly face intercultural collaboration challenges as the workforce, partners and customers become increasingly distributed. Our goal is to enable social technologies to support and develop opportunities for successful and productive collaboration across cultures, countries, and job roles.
[more information] is an example of the interplay between visualization and behavior. is a site for IBMers to tell their version of IBM's 100 year history, and then to discover, through interactive visualization, others' histories. The questions this prompts are can visualization help you find new connections through history? can the aggregation of multiple stories tell a narrative?
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SellerScope: Advanced Salesforce Analytics is a tool that demonstrates how mining and analyzing HR and CRM data can lead to predictive insights for managing sales operations. An interactive visualization of these insights presents an intuitive picture of the analytics results.
Many Eyes Workbench is a desktop application that lets you easily create Many Eyes visualizations from the files on your computer. It can import data from formats such as Excel and PDF, and the visualizations you create can be exported as images or a PowerPoint presentation.
ManyEyes.js provides interactive data visualizations using the native web technologies of JavaScript and HTML5. The visualizations are based on those developed for the Many Eyes web site, and they support the same rich animation and interaction features. ManyEyes.js makes it trivial to add visualizations to any webpage - no plugins or programming required.
Many Bills: A Visual Bill Explorer is a web-based visualization that aims to make congressional legislation easier to digest. It presents bills from the House and Senate organized into collections and split into sections which are color coded and labelled to indicate what topic each section is about. It also provides a set of features designed to make it easier to find interesting or unusual parts of bills and communicate your findings to others.
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Previous Projects

Many Eyes website (2007-2010). Many Eyes is a public web site that allows users to gather data, visualize it, and discuss their visualizations. Within IBM Research, we used the site as an experimental platform to test our research hypotheses about the ability of visualizations to spur communication and social interaction, and how that activity may yield new insights into data. In 2010, the site became a joint project between Research and IBM Cognos Software Group, and today, Cognos maintains the site and user community.
[visit Many Eyes]
Beehive (2007-2011). Beehive (later called SocialBlue) was an internal social networking site our team designed and then deployed within IBM's intranet. We designed Beehive to help employees make new connections, track current friends and coworkers, and renew contacts with people they have worked with in the past. Over 65,000 employees joined the site and our research focused on understanding motivations for using the site, impact on organizational social capital, and design of incentives to encourage participation. The site ran live inside of IBM from 2007 through 2011.
[more information]