the search set

an early exploratory visualization developed to explore the frequency with which users looked visited particular nodes when path tracing

an early exploratory visualization developed to explore the frequency with which users looked at particular nodes when path tracing

Path tracing is a common task in many real world uses of graphs that display networks of relationships. Despite previous work in the evaluation of how factors, such as edge-edge crossings, impact the readability of graph layouts, what makes one path-tracing task more difficult than another is not well understood.

For my M.Sc thesis, I conducted an observational user study with 12 participants completing a path-tracing task. I developed a series of visualizations to support an extensive qualitative analysis of the study data, which led to a detailed characterization of common path-tracing behaviours. I then created a predictive model of the paths that users are most likely to search, named the search set, based on the behaviours that I observed and characterized. To validate the predictive behavioural model, and to demonstrate how the search set could be used, I also conducted a careful comparison of graph readability factors through a hierarchical multiple regression analysis.

process and methods
experiment design
visualization design and implementation
prefuse
qualitative coding analysis
multiple regression analysis

publications
Dawson, J.Q., Munzner, T. and McGrenere, J. (2014). A search-set model of path tracing in graphs. Journal of Information Visualization, In Press.
[project page] [pre-print pdf][sage online]

Dawson, J.Q. (2013). A Search Set Model of Path Tracing in Graphs. M.Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Computer Science, University of British Columbia, October 2013. [pdf]

talks
Thesis presentation given at UBC Computer Science on Oct 10, 2014. [slides]

gallery