Visualizing Sets: An Empirical Comparison of Diagram Types

Peter Chapman, Gem Stapleton, Peter Rodgers, Luanna Micallef, Andrew Blake

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


There are a range of diagram types that can be used to visualize sets. However, there is a significant lack of insight into which is the most effective visualization. To address this knowledge gap, this paper empirically evaluates four diagram types: Venn diagrams, Euler diagrams with shading, Euler diagrams without shading, and the less well-known linear diagrams. By collecting performance data (time to complete tasks and error rate), through crowdsourcing, we establish that linear diagrams outperform the other three diagram types in terms of both task completion time and number of errors. Venn diagrams perform worst from both perspectives. Thus, we provide evidence that linear diagrams are the most effective of these four diagram types for representing sets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiagrams 2014
Place of PublicationAustralia
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
EventDiagrams 2014 - Melbourne, Australia, 28 July - 1 August 2014
Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


ConferenceDiagrams 2014
Period1/01/14 → …

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at Springer via http://10.1007/978-3-662-44043-8_18


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