Validating graph drawing aesthetics

  • Helen C. Purchase
  • Robert F. Cohen
  • Murray James
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1027)


Designers of graph drawing algorithms and systems claim to illuminate application data by producing layouts that optimize measurable aesthetic qualities. Examples of these aesthetics include symmetry (where possible, a symmetrical view of the graph should be displayed), minimize edge crossings (the number of edge crossings in the display should be minimized), and minimize bends (the total number of bends in polyline edges should be minimized).

The aim of this paper is to describe our work to validate these claims by performing empirical studies of human understanding of graphs drawn using various layout aesthetics. This work is important since it helps indicate to algorithm and system designers what are the aesthetic qualities most important to aid understanding, and consequently to build more effective systems.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen C. Purchase
    • 1
  • Robert F. Cohen
    • 2
  • Murray James
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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