Effective temporal graph layout: A comparative study of animation versus static display methods

Michael Farrugia, Aaron John Quigley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Graph drawing algorithms have classically addressed the layout of static graphs. However, the need to draw evolving or dynamic graphs has brought into question many of the assumptions, conventions and layout methods designed to date. For example, social scientists studying evolving social networks have created a demand for visual representations of graphs changing over time. Two common approaches to represent temporal information in graphs include animation of the network and use of static snapshots of the network at different points in time. Here, we report on two experiments, one in a laboratory environment and another using an asynchronous remote web-based platform, Mechanical Turk, to compare the efficiency of animated displays versus static displays. Four tasks are studied with each visual representation, where two characterise overview level information presentation, and two characterise micro level analytical tasks. For the tasks studied in these experiments and within the limits of the experimental system, the results of this study indicate that static representations are generally more effective particularly in terms of time performance, when compared to fully animated movie representations of dynamic networks. Information Visualization (2011) 10, 47-64. doi: 10.1057/ivs.2010.10

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-64
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Visualization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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