[NetBehaviour] Do You See What I Want You to See?

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Nov 14 03:05:55 CET 2005

Do You See What I Want You to See?
The Effects of Motion and Spatial Layout on Viewers' Perceptions of 
Graph Structure.

Cathleen McGrath.
Jim Blythe.

ABSTRACT: In this study, we explore the combined effects of layout and 
motion on viewers' perceptions of social network data. We ask viewers to 
interpret the overall network and we ask domain specific questions about 
managing change within a departmental team to understand how network 
display influences viewers' overall perception of networks. We find that 
motion has a positive effect on the accuracy of viewers' perceptions of 
change in status from formal to informal networks. We also find no main 
effect for hierarchical versus spatially central layout on viewers' 
accuracy. There is a significant interaction effect of motion and graph 
layout on viewers perception of change. Finally, we find that when 
viewers are asked to make interpretations of the overall graph, they 
bring their own pre-existing graphical vocabulary that may influence 
their interpretation.

1 Introduction

Visualizations can be powerful tools for exploring network data and 
communicating their properties. Advances in the field of network 
visualization have allowed more people to create ever more sophisticated 
visual displays of network data. Freeman (2000) traces the history of 
visual display of network data. Moody et al. (forthcoming) present 
techniques for using dynamic network visualizations to communicate 
temporal change in social networks. As in the general field of data 
display, the display of network data presents many options and 
opportunities for communicating information about social structure. 
Individuals who wish to use network visualizations to communicate 
information about organizations and even to change those organizations 
have a range of options to choose from, including motion, 3-dimensional 
layouts, and user interaction.


More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list