Space-Reclaiming Icicle Plots

Huub van de Wetering, Nico Klaassen, Michael Burch

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the space-reclaiming icicle plots, hierarchy visualizations based on the visual metaphor of icicles. As a novelty, our approach tries to reclaim empty space in all hierarchy levels. This reclaiming results in an improved visibility of the hierarchy elements especially those in deeper levels. We implemented an algorithm that is capable of producing more space-reclaiming icicle plot variants. Several visual parameters can be tweaked to change the visual appearance and readability of the plots: among others, a space-reclaiming parameter, an empty space shrinking parameter, and a gap size. To illustrate the usefulness of the novel visualization technique we applied it, among others, to an NCBI taxonomy dataset consisting of more than 300,000 elements and with maximum depth 42. Moreover, we explore the parameter and design space by applying several values for the visual parameters. We also conducted a controlled user study with 17 participants and received qualitative feedback from 112 students from a visualization course.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium (PacificVis)
EditorsFabian Beck, Jinwook Seo, Chaoli Wang
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-5697-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020
Event13th IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis 2020 - Tianjin, China
Duration: 14 Apr 202017 Apr 2020


Conference13th IEEE Pacific Visualization Symposium, PacificVis 2020


  • data visualisation
  • Visualization techniques
  • Visualization
  • Human-centered computing
  • Visualization design and evaluation methods


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