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Thursday, May 17
Computational Statistics
Best of Computational and Graphical Statistics
Thu, May 17, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Grand Ballroom E

Clusters Beat Trend!? Testing Feature Hierarchy in Statistical Graphics (304329)

Heike Hofmann, Iowa State University 
*Susan Ruth VanderPlas, Nebraska Public Power District 

Keywords: Graphics, Perception, Visualization

Graphics are very effective for communicating numerical information quickly and efficiently, but many of the design choices we make are based on subjective measures, such as personal taste or conventions of the discipline rather than objective criteria. We briefly introduce perceptual principles such as preattentive features and gestalt heuristics, and then discuss the design and results of a factorial experiment examining the effect of plot aesthetics such as color and trend lines on participants' assessment of ambiguous data displays. The quantitative and qualitative experimental results strongly suggest that plot aesthetics have a significant impact on the perception of important features in data displays.