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In visualizing graphs as node-link diagrams, it is commonly accepted and employed as a general rule that the number of link crossings should be minimized whenever possible. However, little attention has been paid to how to handle the remaining crossings in the visualization. The study presented in this paper examines the effects of crossing angles on performance of path tracing tasks. It was found that the effect varied with the size of crossing angles. In particular, task response time decreased as the crossing angle increased. However, the rate of the decrease tended to level off when the angle was close to 90 degrees. One of the implications of this study in graph visualization is that just minimizing the crossing number is not sufficient to reduce the negative impact to the minimum. The angles of remaining crossings should be maximized as well.
Date of Conference: 5-7 March 2008