24 May 2012 Visualizing weighted networks: a performance comparison of adjacency matrices versus node-link diagrams
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Ensuring the proper and effective ways to visualize network data is important for many areas of academia, applied sciences, the military, and the public. Fields such as social network analysis, genetics, biochemistry, intelligence, cybersecurity, neural network modeling, transit systems, communications, etc. often deal with large, complex network datasets that can be difficult to interact with, study, and use. There have been surprisingly few human factors performance studies on the relative effectiveness of different graph drawings or network diagram techniques to convey information to a viewer. This is particularly true for weighted networks which include the strength of connections between nodes, not just information about which nodes are linked to other nodes. We describe a human factors study in which participants performed four separate network analysis tasks (finding a direct link between given nodes, finding an interconnected node between given nodes, estimating link strengths, and estimating the most densely interconnected nodes) on two different network visualizations: an adjacency matrix with a heat-map versus a node-link diagram. The results should help shed light on effective methods of visualizing network data for some representative analysis tasks, with the ultimate goal of improving usability and performance for viewers of network data displays.
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John P. McIntire, John P. McIntire, O. Isaac Osesina, O. Isaac Osesina, Cecilia Bartley, Cecilia Bartley, M. Eduard Tudoreanu, M. Eduard Tudoreanu, Paul R. Havig, Paul R. Havig, Eric E. Geiselman, Eric E. Geiselman, } "Visualizing weighted networks: a performance comparison of adjacency matrices versus node-link diagrams", Proc. SPIE 8389, Ground/Air Multisensor Interoperability, Integration, and Networking for Persistent ISR III, 83891G (24 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.920012; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.920012

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