Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reaction: Task Taxonomy for Graph Visualization

This paper is a very informative paper. It defines tasks for graph visualization that could be useful to : 1) designers who want to improve their system and 2) to evaluators who want to compare graph visualization systems. It also deals with how all complex tasks could be seen as a series of low-level tasks performed on objects like nodes, links, paths, graphs, connected components, clusters and groups. So basically the author presents the task taxonomy which can be useful while analyzing the graphical visualizations.

The author discusses about a list of tasks generally encountered while analyzing - browsing tasks, overview tasks, attribute and topology based. Each task has general descriptions and example scenarios. FOAF, FW, GO, and ARM represent friend-of-a-friend graph, food webs, gene ontology, and airport routing map respectively. In addition, the author also shows how each task can be decomposed into low-level tasks on specified graph objects. In the last section of the paper, a comparison is made on characteristics of several contemporary graph visualizing tools like TreePluss, NVSS etc. based on the tasks these tools readily support.

I think overall it was a very simple but useful read. The table given at the end of the paper summarizes the entire discussion topic. That table characterizes graph visualization tools based their focus of specific objects and tasks. I just feel these tables should have been discussed at the beginning of the paper to keep the readers more interested in the article.