Measuring Perceived Clutter in Concept Diagrams

Tie Hou, Peter Chapman, Ian Oliver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Clutter in a diagram can be broadly defined as how visually complex the diagram is. It may be that different users perceive clutter in different ways, however. Moreover, it has been shown that, for certain types of diagrams and tasks, an increase in clutter negatively affects task performance, making quantifying clutter an important problem. In this paper we investigate the perceived clutter in concept diagrams, a visual language used for representing ontologies. Using perceptual theory and existing research on clutter for other diagrams, we propose five plausible measures for assigning clutter scores to concept diagrams. By performing an empirical study we evaluated each of these proposed measures against participants’ rankings of diagrams. Whilst more than one of our measures showed strong correlation with perceived clutter, our results suggest that a measure based on the number of points where lines cross is the most appropriate way to quantify clutter for concept diagrams.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing
Place of PublicationNew Jersey, USA
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
EventIEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing - Cambridge, UK, September 4–7, 2016
Duration: 1 Jan 2016 → …


ConferenceIEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing
Period1/01/16 → …

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