Graph Drawing Aesthetics in User-Sketched Graph Layouts

Purchase, H., Plimmer, B., Baker, R. and Pilcher, C.

    Empirical work on appropriate layout aesthetics for graph drawing algorithms has concentrated on the interpretation of existing graph drawings. A more recent experiment has considered layout aesthetics from the point of view of users moving nodes in an existing graph drawing so as to create a desirable layout. The project reported here extends this research further, by asking participants to use sketching software to draw graphs based on adjacency lists, and to then lay them out – removing any bias caused by an initial configuration. We find, in common with many other studies, that removing edge crossings is the most significant aesthetic, but also discover that aligning nodes and edges to an underlying grid is important, especially to male participants who have Computer Science experience. We observe that the aesthetics favoured by participants during creation of a graph drawing are often not evident in the final product.
Cite as: Purchase, H., Plimmer, B., Baker, R. and Pilcher, C. (2010). Graph Drawing Aesthetics in User-Sketched Graph Layouts. In Proc. Eleventh Australasian User Interface Conference (AUIC 2010) Brisbane, Australia. CRPIT, 106. Boyd, C. and Susilo, W. Eds., ACS. 80-88
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