Picviz curves

Picviz curves

As I just commited an option for the Picviz pngcairo plugin to draw curves instead of straight lines.

To me it just looks pretty without anything technically interesting behind it. I guess some people could argue this helps uncovering clusters, maybe... What do you guys think of such ways of playing with parallel coordinates?

pretty but potentially really bad HCI

One of the principal issues with parallel coordinates is obfuscation, i.e. lines overlapping. By binding the edges like this, you actually exacerbate the issue. Its pretty much impossible to follow a line from left to right. As soon as it passes through one point, all lines come together so you have no idea where the line goes after that point. You could try and solve this by uniquely coloring lines but there are only so many differentiable hues. This of course partially depends on the task at hand. This type of view might still be used for identifying high level trends (e.g. most data that have high values of x go to low values of y). But, then it's not clear the advantage this would have over not bending the lines would have.

But, it appears these folks have tried similar things. I haven't read up on their stuff but it appears that have published at some respected conferences:


Nice job, easier to read

might be useful

i've generated a few parallel coordinate plots that look really messy, and i look forward to re-doing them with the curve option. it kind of reminds me of the "flow bundle" technique described in this paper .

Evaluating graphing techniques

On a five point scale for evaluating visualizations:

1. Useless
2. Pretty but useless
3. Pretty
4. Pretty useful
5. Pretty and useful

This seems to be a 2, Pretty but useless from my perspective.