Section: New Results

A Systematic Review of Experimental Studies on Data Glyphs

Participants : Johannes Fuchs, Petra Isenberg [correspondant] , Anastasia Bezerianos, Daniel Keim.

Figure 9. Overview of the glyphs reviewed in the study.

We systematically reviewed 64 user-study papers on data glyphs to help researchers and practitioners gain an informed understanding of tradeoffs in the glyph design space. The glyphs we considered were individual representations of multi-dimensional data points, often meant to be shown in small-multiple settings. Over the past 60 years many different glyph designs were proposed and many of these designs have been subjected to perceptual or comparative evaluations. Yet, a systematic overview of the types of glyphs and design variations tested, the tasks under which they were analyzed, or even the study goals and results did not yet exist. We provide such an overview by systematically sampling and tabulating the literature on data glyph studies, listing their designs, questions, data, and tasks. In addition we present a concise overview of the types of glyphs and their design characteristics analyzed by researchers in the past, and a synthesis of the study results. Based on our meta analysis of all results we further contribute a set of design implications and a discussion on open research directions.