Section: New Software and Platforms
Node-link infographics are visually very rich and can communicate messages effectively, but can be very difficult to create, often involving a painstaking and artisanal process. We have investigated node-link visualizations for communication, and have explored how to better support their creation. We have developed a set of techniques aimed at improving their creation workflow by bringing more flexibility and power to users, letting them manipulate all aspects of a node-link diagram (layout, visual attributes, etc.) while taking into account the context in which it will appear. We then implemented these techniques in a proof-of-concept prototype called GraphCoiffure, which we designed as an intermediary step between graph drawing/editing software and image authoring applications.
GraphCoiffure  is a proof-of-concept prototype designed to bridge the gap between graph editors and image authoring software by supporting graph beautification, i. e., the touching up of a node-link diagram to enhance its communicative power, or to make it conform to a desired aesthetics. GraphCoiffure is not meant to replace graph editors and graph drawing software, but rather to extend them by letting users import and beautify diagrams that have been created in these programs. GraphCoiffure does not itself enhance these diagrams, but it empowers users to do so. Its features include tools for interactive graph manipulation, a CSS-like stylesheet system, and a possibility of using page layout schemas to tailor a diagram for a specific context of use. Unlike graphics editors, it preserves visual mappings and makes it easier for users to make modifications based on the semantics of the graphs and their context of use.