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How Ordered Is It? On the Perceptual Orderability of Visual Channels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rita Borgo, David H. S. Chung, Daniel Archambault, Darren J. Edwards, Robert S. Laramee, Min Chen

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Issue number3
Early online date4 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2016


King's Authors


The design of effective glyphs for visualisation involves a number of different visual encodings. Since spatial position is usually already specified in advance, we must rely on other visual channels to convey additional relationships for multivariate analysis. One such relationship is the apparent order present in the data. This paper presents two crowdsourcing empirical studies that focus on the perceptual evaluation of orderability for visual channels, namely Bertin's retinal variables. The first study investigates the perception of order in a sequence of elements encoded with different visual channels. We found evidence that certain visual channels are perceived as more ordered (for example, value) while others are perceived as less ordered (for example, hue) than the measured order present in the data. As a result, certain visual channels are more/less sensitive to disorder. The second study evaluates how visual orderability affects min and max judgments of elements in the sequence. We found that visual channels that tend to be perceived as ordered, improve the accuracy of identifying these values.

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