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Design principles by Mind Map: Design principles
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Design principles


Ware, Information Visualization, p.166

Attracts attention

Ware, Information Visualization, p.158

Patterns in motion can be used to convey information

Ware, Information Visualization, p.232-239

Perceived motion highly dependent on context and frame

Ware, Information Visualization, p.233

Spatial grouping

Ware, Information Visualization, p.179: Visual space is divided into regions according to the predominant spatial info and orientation info





Ware, Information Visualization, p.208


New node


Color allows the visual system to cluster elements as long as they are not overdone

Ware, Information Visualization, p.146

Colors can be pre-attentively distinct

Ware, Information Visualization, p.168


Uncertain interpretation of an image

Can be due to...

Can be resolved with...

2D visual field

Visual units are perceived within visual context

Planes create implicit boundaries

Angular space promotes asymmetry

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception. p.229

Convergent shapes promote unification by creating a central perspective.

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception, p.229

3D space

Certain optical measures/perceptual gradients create sensation of space. These include size, location, distance, color, value

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception, p.229 Kepes, Language of Vision, p.23

In a visual field with no definite boundaries, spatial relationships are defined vis-a-vis self.

Kepes, Language of Vision, p.19 Directions are up, down, advance, recess. Ego-centered axes create latent background. If this holds true for a visualization framed by a computer, spatial relationships can be 'broken' vis-a-vis the self, using elements such as panning, zooming, profiles/avatars...decenter the viewer sitting before the monitor, or help pull the viewer into the screen.

Spatial forces are only perceived as opposing other spatial forces. No unit lives alone on the picture-plane, it merges into a whole.

Kepes, Language of Vision,p.83 & 51

In an interactive space, brain constructs patterns primarily with movement and proximity. Frame limitations necessitate that shapes, colors, orientations convey meaning as well

Ware, Information Visualization, p.231

Motion in space pulls toward and implies a center

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception, p.309 This principle can be leveraged in decentering a visualization, and decentering can be useful in de-ephasizing axes and frame

Preattentive processing

Ware, Information Visualization, p.151: Perception as instant organization, then constructed into recognition. Kepes, Language of Vision, p. 45-51: "Visual representation operates by means of a sign system based upon a correspondence between the sensory stimulations and the visible structure of the physical world. Space-time events of the physical world must be translated into the relationships of color surfaces on the picture-plane. Man has gradually learned to order certain visible relationships of space-time events; that is, of extent, of depth, and of movement. The historical development of representation shows a gradual conquest of these optical relationships in the terms of the two-dimensional picture surface." p.67

color, motion, spatial grouping, size, line (orientation, length, width, collinearity), numerosity

Ware, Information Visualization, p.166 (numerosity = we can easily see up to four objects in a group)


Ware, Information Visualization, p.166


Certain elements lend to more or less emphasis

New node


A few salient features determine the identity of a perceived object, creating an integrated pattern

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception, p.29.

Visual organization is a tendency to find the most economic unity in ordering.

Kepes, Language of vision, p.45-51. These optical units are seen as together in spatial configurations: organization and group differences, close to one another, similar in size, direction, shape, closure.  

Overlapping intensifies relationships between elements by creating a pattern. This helps visual grouping.

Arnheim, Art & Visual Perception,p.83 Good way to group and relate elements in the viz, but have to be careful to obscure as little information as possible

Patterns tell us how to organize data so important structures are perceived

Ware, Information Visualization, p.203

Eye strives for balance and constructs patterns to do so


Ware, Information Visualization, ch. 10

Principles based on real-world metaphors

Outside metaphor, you have the focus-context problem: how to find detail in a larger context?

Ware, Information Visualization, p.355

Mappings between data and visual representation need to be fluid and dynamic w/r/t spatial and temporal feedback

Ware, Information Visualization, p.362