ISSN 2079-3537      


Scientific Visualization, 2019, volume 11, number 3, pages 1 - 16, DOI: 10.26583/sv.11.3.01

Activity approach in design of specialized visualization systems

Authors: V.L. Averbukh1,A,B, N.V. Averbukh2,B, D.V. Semenischev3,B


B Ural Federal University

1 ORCID: 0000-0002-4379-1450,

2 ORCID: 0000-0002-8232-6711,

3 ORCID: 0000-0002-7526-3089,



The article discusses the application of activity approach in designing specialized interfaces and visualization systems. Activity approach is a psychological theory developed by the Russian academics of the XX century which suggests analyzing professional work as a type of activity. Activity presupposes consciousness, purposefulness and setting tasks, the accomplishment of which is aimed at achieving a goal. Activity can be broken down into actions serving to accomplish the tasks, and actions, in turn, are broken down into operations. The same activity can be carried out through different operations, and the same operations can be combined into different types of activity. Activity approach in interface design is applied to mass and professional instrumental interfaces. The article provides examples of activity analysis in terms of the used instrumental interfaces; it describes approaches to designing real interfaces for medical purposes, considers the design tasks for specialized visualization systems. For this purpose, the phenomenon of insight can be used as one of the criteria of visualization quality. The article also points out the issues of using virtual reality in scientific visualization. It provides the results of the experiment analyzing the influence of the presence phenomenon in virtual reality on the solution of intellectual tasks, and the basics of visualization system user activity.

The article discusses the analysis of specialized (both professional and mass) interfaces serving as instruments in purposeful and productive activity. The analysis is carried out from the perspective of the activity theory and several topics in the fields of psychology and physiology. It is generally believed that the history of interface design clarifies some subtle aspects of modern interactive systems. Further, examples of prototype implementations of service interfaces are provided. Future possibilities for introducing the activity approach into the practical design of specialized interactive systems are also under review.


Keywords: activity theory; instrumental interfaces; specialized visualization systems.