While at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), I had the opportunity to work on interface designs for an intelligent decision-making environment.
We were able to map some of the automated learning techniques we were developing (Knowledge Discovery, Collaboration, Deliberation, and Corporate Memory) to modes of communication (Inquiry, Instruction, Conversation, and Debate). Of particular note was the addition of concept mapping to the decision-making process. After gathering input on a particular topic or issue, we presented a series of information visualizations that grouped “concepts” and showed the variance between viewpoints. These visual representations became very useful for illuminating the relationships between opinions and data.
Some recent affirmations: Antonella Pastore describes some of the visual tools she uses for Mind mapping and visual concepts diagramming, and the companion site for Visualizing Argumentation outlines visualization techniques to support design and policy deliberation.