Pragmatic Apparatus – Which emphasis technique to use? Perception of emphasis techniques with varying distractors, backgrounds, and visualization types

Cited by Lee Sonogan

Special Guest Speaker – Spring Mission's Emphasis – Bacon's Castle Baptist  Church

Abstract by Aristides Mairena, Carl Gutwin, Andy Cockburn

Emphasis effects are visual changes that make data elements distinct from their surroundings. Designers may use computational saliency models to predict how a viewer’s attention will be guided by a specific effect; however, although saliency models provide a foundational understanding of emphasis perception, they only cover specific visual effects in abstract conditions. To address these limitations, we carried out crowdsourced studies that evaluate emphasis perception in a wider range of conditions than previously studied. We varied effect magnitude, distractor number and type, background, and visualization type, and measured the perceived emphasis of 12 visual effects. Our results show that there are perceptual commonalities of emphasis across a wide range of environments, but also that there are limitations on perceptibility for some effects, dependent on a visualization’s background or type. We developed a model of emphasis predictability based on simple scatterplots that can be extended to other viewing conditions. Our studies provide designers with new understanding of how viewers experience emphasis in realistic visualization settings.

Publication: Information Visualization (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Sep 22, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: Data visualization, perception, empirical evaluation, experimental studies, human-computer interaction (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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