Exploratory User Study on Graph Temporal Encodings

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: Different combinations of structural and temporal encodings of a network as depicted in our study

A temporal graph stores and reflects temporal information associated with its entities and relationships. Such graphs can be utilized to model a broad variety of problems in a multitude of domains. Researchers from different fields of expertise are increasingly applying graph visualization and analysis to explore unknown phenomena, complex emerging structures, and changes occurring over time in their data. While several empirical studies evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of different network representations, visualizing the temporal dimension in graphs still presents an open challenge. In this paper we propose an exploratory user study with the aim of evaluating different combinations of graph representations, namely node-link and adjacency matrix, and temporal encodings, such as superimposition, juxtaposition and animation, on typical temporal tasks. The study participants expressed positive feedback toward matrix representations, with generally quicker and more accurate responses than with the node-link representation.

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