The Perceptual Scalability of Visualization

Beth Yost, Chris North
2006 IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics  
Larger, higher resolution displays can be used to increase the scalability of information visualizations. But just how much can scalability increase using larger displays before hitting human perceptual or cognitive limits? Are the same visualization techniques that are good on a single monitor also the techniques that are best when they are scaled up using large, high-resolution displays? To answer these questions we performed a controlled experiment on user performance time, accuracy, and
more » ... ective workload when scaling up data quantity with different space-time-attribute visualizations using a large, tiled display. Twelve college students used small multiples, embedded bar matrices, and embedded time-series graphs either on a 2 megapixel (Mp) display or with data scaled up using a 32 Mp tiled display. Participants performed various overview and detail tasks on geospatially-referenced multidimensional time-series data. Results showed that current designs are perceptually scalable because they result in a decrease in task completion time when normalized per number of data attributes along with no decrease in accuracy. It appears that, for the visualizations selected for this study, the relative comparison between designs is generally consistent between display sizes. However, results also suggest that encoding is more important on a smaller display while spatial grouping is more important on a larger display. Some suggestions for designers are provided based on our experience designing visualizations for large displays.
doi:10.1109/tvcg.2006.184 pmid:17080807 fatcat:3ocqov5o5vgurlmhezjafz77mi