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Toward a Perceptual Theory of Flow Visualization

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1 Author(s)
Ware, C. ; Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham

Currently, most researchers in visualization pay very little attention to vision science. The exception is when the effective use of color is the subject. Little research in flow visualization includes a discussion of the related perceptual theory. Nor does it include an evaluation of effectiveness of the display techniques that are generated. This is so, despite Laidlaw's paper showing that such an evaluation is relatively straightforward. Of course, it's not always necessary to relate visualization research to perceptual theory. If the purpose of the research is to increase the efficiency of an algorithm, then the proper test is one of efficiency, not of perceptual validity. But when a new representation of data is the subject of research, addressing how perceptually effective it is - either by means of a straightforward empirical comparison with existing methods or analytically, relating the new mapping to perceptual theory - should be a matter of course. A strong interdisciplinary approach, including the disciplines of perception, design, and computer science will produce better science and better design in that empirically and theoretically validated visual display techniques will result.

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March-April 2008

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