“Developing a grammar for 3D notation” is a research project aiming to establish a theoretical framework for visualizing information in a tangible, three-dimensional medium.
The notion of mapping non-numerical information three-dimension-ally, i.e., 3D notation, has caught the attention of many researchers for decades, especially in the field of computer science. Yet, many of their focuses are on exploring the potential of emerging technologies, and not on its relevance or how it can be unique or different from conventional (2D) visualization techniques.
In contrast, this thesis aims to tackle this notion with focus at the human sense-making level. It elucidates the design process and challenges of 3D notation through (a) distinguishing three approaches of mapping three-dimensionally: in 3D, as 3D, and with 3D, (b) positioning 3D notation as an enhancement of 2D notation, and (c) exploring non-digital tangible representations to highlight the attributes and importance of physical interaction.
In addition, several prototypes were developed to exemplify how this framework can be employed in different settings and topics. 3D notation has the potential to visualize complex “wicked problems” and facilitate group cognition for better understanding.