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The Impact of Shape on the Perception of Euler Diagrams

Blake, Andrew, Stapleton, Gem, Rodgers, Peter, Cheek, Liz, Howse, John (2014) The Impact of Shape on the Perception of Euler Diagrams. In: Dwyer, Tim and Purchase, Helen and Delaney, Aidan, eds. Diagrammatic Representation and Inference. Proceedings of 8th International Conference, Diagrams 2014, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, July 28 - August 1, 2014. Lecture Notes in Computer Science , 8578. pp. 123-137. Springer, Berlin, Germany ISBN 978-3-662-44042-1. E-ISBN 978-3-662-44043-8. (doi:10.1007/978-3-662-44043-8_16) (KAR id:41427)


Euler diagrams are often used for visualizing data collected into sets. However, there is a significant lack of guidance regarding graphical choices for Euler diagram layout. To address this deficiency, this paper asks the question `does the shape of a closed curve affect a user's comprehension of an Euler diagram?' By empirical study, we establish that curve shape does indeed impact on understandability. Our analysis of performance data indicates that circles perform best, followed by squares, with ellipses and rectangles jointly performing worst. We conclude that, where possible, circles should be used to draw effective Euler diagrams. Further, the ability to discriminate curves from zones and the symmetry of the curve shapes is argued to be important. We utilize perceptual theory to explain these results. As a consequence of this research, improved diagram layout decisions can be made for Euler diagrams whether they are manually or automatically drawn.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-662-44043-8_16
Additional information: Received "Best Student Paper Award"
Uncontrolled keywords: Euler Diagrams, Shape
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Peter Rodgers
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2014 06:19 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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