The Visual Representation of Information Structures
Ware, Colin (2001) The Visual Representation of Information Structures. In: Graph Drawing 8th International Symposium, GD 2000, September 20–23, 2000, Colonial Williamsburg, VA, USA , pp. 1-4 (Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/3-540-44541-2_1).
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It is proposed that research into human perception can be applied in designing ways to represent structured information. This idea is illustrated with four case studies. (1) How can we design a graph so that paths can be discerned? Recent results in the perception of contours can be applied to make paths easier to perceive in directed graphs. (2) Should we be displaying graphs in 3D or 2D space? Research suggests that larger graphs can be understood if stereo and motion parallax depth cues are available. (3) How can heterogeneous information structures be best represented? Experiments show using structured 3D shape primitives make diagrams that are easier to discover and remember. (4) How can causal relationships be displayed? Michotte's work on the perception of causality suggests that causal relationships can be represented using simple animations. The general point of these examples is that data visualization can become a science based on the mapping of data structures to visual representations. Scientific methods can be applied both in the development of theory and testing the value of different representations.
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