Beyond Memorability: Visualization Recognition and Recall
(IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2015.)
In this paper we move beyond memorability and investigate how visualizations are recognized and recalled. For this study we labeled a dataset of 393 visualizations and analyzed the eye movements of 33 participants as well as thousands of participantgenerated text descriptions of the visualizations. This allowed us to determine what components of a visualization attract peopletextquoterights attention, and what information is encoded into memory. Our findings quantitatively support many conventional qualitative design guidelines, including that (1) titles and supporting text should convey the message of a visualization, (2) if used appropriately, pictograms do not interfere with understanding and can improve recognition, and (3) redundancy helps effectively communicate the message. Importantly, we show that visualizations memorable textquotedblleftat-a-glancetextquotedblright are also capable of effectively conveying the message of the visualization. Thus, a memorable visualization is often also an effective one.