This thesis proposes a model able to overcome the current discussions and divisions of the visualization domain by reasoning on visualizations from a user, context and aims point of view rather than a cultural or technological one.
The model lies its foundations on the data-information-knowledge continuum (Bellinger et al.) through which visualizations are not considered static artefacts but rather transformation processes within these three elements.
A reasoning about visualizations which reckons them as part of a process helps the designer focalising his attention on the objectives and aims of a graphic representation.
By doing this it is possible to get over the actual excessive fragmentation of the visualization domain to reach instead a tripartition based on three main visualization aims: to analyze data, to comunicate information and to transfer knowledge.
Each of these visualization directions carries on a different design approach and different languages and techniques suitable to one’s reference context. Once outlined the objectives and languages it is possible to do the same with contexts and users.
Facing the problem from this point of view allows to consider visualization as a mean to an end: there are no “right” or “wrong” visualizations but rather different ways of approaching a problem based on context and target.