October 24, 2008
Weidong Huang, « An Eye Tracking Study into the Effects of Graph Layout », arXiv, ID : 10670/1.e8p2um
Graphs are typically visualized as node-link diagrams. Although there is a fair amount of research focusing on crossing minimization to improve readability, little attention has been paid on how to handle crossings when they are an essential part of the final visualizations. This requires us to understand how people read graphs and how crossings affect reading performance. As an initial step to this end, a preliminary eye tracking experiment was conducted. The specific purpose of this experiment was to test the effects of crossing angles and geometric-path tendency on eye movements and performance. Sixteen subjects performed both path search and node locating tasks with six drawings. The results showed that small angles can slow down and trigger extra eye movements, causing delays for path search tasks, whereas crossings have little impact on node locating tasks. Geometric-path tendency indicates that a path between two nodes can become harder to follow when many branches of the path go toward the target node. The insights obtained are discussed with a view to further confirmation in future work.