International Conference on Theory and Application of Diagrams

Diagrams 2014: Diagrammatic Representation and Inference pp 146-160 | Cite as

Visualizing Sets: An Empirical Comparison of Diagram Types

  • Peter Chapman
  • Gem Stapleton
  • Peter Rodgers
  • Luana Micallef
  • Andrew Blake
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8578)


There are a range of diagram types that can be used to visualize sets. However, there is a significant lack of insight into which is the most effective visualization. To address this knowledge gap, this paper empirically evaluates four diagram types: Venn diagrams, Euler diagrams with shading, Euler diagrams without shading, and the less well-known linear diagrams. By collecting performance data (time to complete tasks and error rate), through crowdsourcing, we establish that linear diagrams outperform the other three diagram types in terms of both task completion time and number of errors. Venn diagrams perform worst from both perspectives. Thus, we provide evidence that linear diagrams are the most effective of these four diagram types for representing sets.


set visualization linear diagrams Venn diagrams Euler diagrams 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Chapman
    • 1
  • Gem Stapleton
    • 1
  • Peter Rodgers
    • 2
  • Luana Micallef
    • 2
  • Andrew Blake
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BrightonUK
  2. 2.University of KentUK

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