Visual analytics applications (VAApps) rely heavily on visual representations and notations to communicate information and support user's interaction. In order to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of VAApps, we must pay special attention to the visual representations and their underlying interaction mechanisms. When designing visual representations, before investing time and other resources in conducting user evaluations, we can apply analytical approaches to guide design and to establish a common ground within the development team to compare and discuss design alternatives. In this paper, we use two analytical approaches to evaluate our early implementation of HistoryViewer (HV), a user interaction history visualization system. One approach uses the Physics of Notation theory , analyzing the graphical notation itself whilst documenting some design choices based on the principles stated in the theory. The other approach is the Cognitive Dimensions of Notation framework , which is used to evaluate usability by considering cognitive characteristics of notations used in the design of interface and interactions of a system. We compare the results of both studies in order to highlight the similarities and differences in the findings. We discuss how each theory contributed to the analysis. We also provide some guidance for the development team to use them in order to improve the final user interface solution.