Skip to Main Content
This paper presents a 2D flow visualization user study that we conducted using new methodologies to increase the objectiveness. We evaluated grid-based variable-size arrows, evenly spaced streamlines, and line integral convolution (LIC) variants (basic, oriented, and enhanced versions) coupled with a colorwheel and/or rainbow color map, which are representative of many geometry-based and texture-based techniques. To reduce data-related bias, template-based explicit flow synthesis was used to create a wide variety of symmetric flows with similar topological complexity. To suppress task-related bias, pattern-based implicit task design was employed, addressing critical point recognition, critical point classification, and symmetric pattern categorization. In addition, variable-duration and fixed-duration measurement schemes were utilized for lightweight precision-critical and heavyweight judgment-intensive flow analysis tasks, respectively, to record visualization effectiveness. We eliminated outliers and used the Ryan REGWQ post-hoc homogeneous subset tests in statistical analysis to obtain reliable findings. Our study shows that a texture-based dense representation with accentuated flow streaks, such as enhanced LIC, enables intuitive perception of the flow, while a geometry-based integral representation with uniform density control, such as evenly spaced streamlines, may exploit visual interpolation to facilitate mental reconstruction of the flow. It is also shown that inappropriate color mapping (e.g., colorwheel) may add distractions to a flow representation.