Statistics from an HCI Perspective

Jean-Bernard Martens. 2012. Statistics from an HCI perspective: Illmo – interactive log likelihood modeling. In Proceedings of the International Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces(AVI ’12), Genny Tortora, Stefano Levialdi, and Maurizio Tucci (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 382-385. DOI=


While statistics is recognized as an important topic in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI) and other scientific fields, it is also a topic that spurns continuous debate. The current practice is that, despite extensive developments in the area of statistics in the last decades, most practitioners stick to the most simple parametric methods.

Increasingly, we see the argument arise that scientists will have to resort to more advanced methods, which are unfortunately only available in advanced statistical packages that require a specialized syntax and a substantial understanding of the underlying statistical principles.

This paper introduces Illmo, a program for performing statistics in a more intuitive way. In order to operate the program successfully, the user only needs to understand a single statistical principle, i.e., the likelihood as a goodness-of-fit measure between the observed data and the proposed statistical model. Illmo is unique in the sense that its visual interface not only provides extensive graphical renderings of the data analysis results, but also assists explicitly in navigating between different (but related) statistical techniques.

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Jean-Bernard Martens

Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands


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