A user study on visualizing directed edges in graphs

D.H.R. Holten, J.J. Wijk, van

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)
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Graphs are often visualized using node-link representations: vertices are depicted as dots, edges are depicted as (poly)lines connecting two vertices. A directed edge running from vertex A to B is generally visualized using an arrow representation: a (poly)line with a triangular arrowhead at vertex B. Although this representation is intuitive, it is not guaranteed that a user is able to determine edge direction as quickly and unambiguously as possible; alternative representations that exhibit less occlusion and visual clutter might be better suited. To investigate this, we developed five additional directed-edge representations using combinations of shape and color. We performed a user study in which subjects performed different tasks on a collection of graphs using these representations and combinations thereof to investigate which representation is best in terms of speed and accuracy. We present our initial hypotheses, the outcome of the user studies, and recommendations regarding directed-edge visualization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 27th SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2009, Boston MA, USA, April 4-9, 2009)
EditorsD.R. Olsen, R.B. Arthur, K. Hinckley, M. Ringel Morris, S.E. Hudson, S. Greenberg
Place of PublicationNew York NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Print)978-1-60558-246-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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