Using Treemaps to Visualize the Analytic Hierarchy Process

TitleUsing Treemaps to Visualize the Analytic Hierarchy Process
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsAsahi T, Turo D, Shneiderman B
JournalInformation Systems ResearchInformation Systems Research
Pagination357 - 375
Date Published1995/12/01/
ISBN Number1047-7047, 1526-5536
KeywordsAHP, analytic hierarchy process, decision support, treemap, User interfaces, Visualization

Treemaps, a visualization method for large hierarchical data spaces, are used to augment the capabilities of the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for decision-making. Two direct manipulation tools, presented metaphorically as a “pump” and a “hook,” were developed and applied to the treemap to support AHP sensitivity analysis. Users can change the importance of criteria dynamically on the two-dimensional treemap and immediately see the impact on the outcome of the decision. This fluid process dramatically speeds up exploration and provides a better understanding of the relative impact of the component criteria. A usability study with six subjects using a prototype AHP application showed that treemap representation was acceptable from a visualization and data operation standpoint.