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Information Visualization - 3rd Edition - ISBN: 9780123814647, 9780123814654

Information Visualization

3rd Edition

Perception for Design

Author: Colin Ware
eBook ISBN: 9780123814654
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123814647
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 18th May 2012
Page Count: 536
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Table of Contents

Chapter One. Foundations for an Applied Science of Data Visualization

Visualization Stages

Experimental Semiotics Based on Perception

Semiotics of Graphics

Sensory versus Arbitrary Symbols

Gibson’s Affordance Theory

A Model of Perceptual Processing

Costs and Benefits of Visualization

Types of Data



Chapter Two. The Environment, Optics, Resolution, and the Display

The Environment

The Eye

The Optimal Display


Chapter Three. Lightness, Brightness, Contrast, and Constancy

Neurons, Receptive Fields, and Brightness Illusions

Luminance, Brightness, Lightness, and Gamma

Perception of Surface Lightness

Monitor Illumination and Monitor Surrounds


Chapter Four. Color

Trichromacy Theory

Color Measurement

Opponent Process Theory

Properties of Color Channels

Color Appearance

Applications of Color in Visualization

Application 1: Color Specification Interfaces and Color Spaces

Application 2: Color for Labeling (Nominal Codes)

Application 3: Color Sequences for Data Maps

Application 4: Color Reproduction


Chapter Five. Visual Salience and Finding Information

Eye Movements

V1, Channels, and Tuned Receptors

Preattentive Processing and Ease of Search

Integral and Separable Dimensions: Glyph Design

Representing Quantity

The Searchlight Metaphor and Cortical Magnification


Chapter Six. Static and Moving Patterns

Gestalt Laws

Texture: Theory and Data Mapping

Perception of Transparency: Overlapping Data

Perceiving Patterns in Multidimensional Discrete Data

Pattern Learning

The Visual Grammar of Node–Link Diagrams

The Visual Grammar of Maps

Patterns in Motion

Perception of Animated Motion

The Processes of Pattern Finding

Chapter Seven. Space Perception

Depth Cue Theory

Depth Cues in Combination

Task-Based Space Perception

Tracing Data Paths in 3D Graphs

Judging the Morphology of Surfaces

Patterns of Points in 3D Space

Perceiving Patterns in 3D Trajectories

Judging Relative Positions of Objects in Space

Judging the Relative Movements of Self within the Environment

Selecting and Positioning Objects in 3D

Judging the “Up” Direction

The Aesthetic Impression of 3D Space (Presence)


Chapter Eight. Visual Objects and Data Objects

Image-Based Object Recognition

Structure-Based Object Recognition

The Object Display and Object-Based Diagrams


Coding Words and Images

Labels and Concepts

Concept Mapping

Iconic Images versus Words versus Abstract Symbols

Scenes and Scene Gist


Chapter Nine. Images, Narrative, and Gestures for Explanation

The Nature of Language

Integrating Visual and Verbal and the Narrative Thread

Animated versus Static Presentations

Visual Narrative


Chapter Ten. Interacting with Visualizations

Data Selection and Manipulation Loop

Exploration and Navigation Loop

Focus, Context, and Scale in Nonmetaphoric Interfaces


Chapter Eleven. Visual Thinking Processes

The Cognitive System

Memory and Attention

Long-Term Memory

Knowledge Formation and Creative Thinking

Visualizations and Mental Images

Review of Visual Cognitive System Components

Visual Thinking Algorithms

Algorithm 1: Visual Queries

Algorithm 2: Pathfinding on a Map or Diagram

Algorithm 3: Reasoning with a Hybrid of a Visual Display and Mental Imagery

Algorithm 4: Design Sketching

Algorithm 5: Brushing

Algorithm 6: Small Pattern Comparisons in a Large Information Space

Algorithm 7: Degree-of-Relevance Highlighting

Algorithm 8: Generalized Fisheye Views

Algorithm 9: Multidimensional Dynamic Queries with Scatter Plot

Algorithm 10: Visual Monitoring Strategies


APPENDIX A. Changing Primaries

APPENDIX B. CIE Color Measurement System

APPENDIX C. The Perceptual Evaluation of Visualization Techniques and Systems

Research Goals


Cognitive Psychology

Structural Analysis

Statistical Exploration

Cross-Cultural Studies

Child Studies

Practical Problems in Conducting User Studies

APPENDIX D. Guidelines


Most designers know that yellow text presented against a blue background reads clearly and easily, but how many can explain why, and what really are the best ways to help others and ourselves clearly see key patterns in a bunch of data? When we use software, access a website, or view business or scientific graphics, our understanding is greatly enhanced or impeded by the way the information is presented.

This book explores the art and science of why we see objects the way we do. Based on the science of perception and vision, the author presents the key principles at work for a wide range of applications--resulting in visualization of improved clarity, utility, and persuasiveness. The book offers practical guidelines that can be applied by anyone: interaction designers, graphic designers of all kinds (including web designers), data miners, and financial analysts.

Key Features

  • Complete update of the recognized source in industry, research, and academic for applicable guidance on information visualizing
  • Includes the latest research and state of the art information on multimedia presentation
  • More than 160 explicit design guidelines based on vision science
  • A new final chapter that explains the process of visual thinking and how visualizations help us to think about problems
  • Packed with over 400 informative full color illustrations, which are key to understanding of the subject


Professionals in user interface/user interaction designer; computer graphics, including those who are the techie type as well as those who are graphics designers; financial analysts; research scientists and engineers; data miners; and managers faced with information-intensive challenges


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2012
18th May 2012
Morgan Kaufmann
eBook ISBN:
Hardcover ISBN:


"Oh my God, the Bible just got better. There is no book that I rely on more in my work than Information Visualization: Perception for Design, and with this third edition Colin Ware has made it more indispensible and easier to apply than ever." --Stephen Few, Principal, Perceptual Edge

"Drawing on his background in both computer science and the psychology of perception, Ware (coastal and ocean mapping, U. of New Hampshire) has become a leader in three-dimensional visualization systems, such as ocean currents and the movement of whales. For this third edition of his reference on what the science of perception reveals about visualization, he has clarified the design implications of research in perception, and increased the emphasis on the process of visual thinking. The topics include foundations for an applied science of data visualization, color, static and moving pictures, visual objects and data objects, and interacting with visualization." --Reference and Research Book News, August 2012

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

Colin Ware

Colin Ware is the world’s leading authority on the perceptual principles underlying the effective design of information displays. He combines interests in both basic and applied visualization research and he has advanced degrees in both computer science (MMath, Waterloo) and in the psychology of perception (PhD,Toronto). He has published over 160 articles in scientific and technical journals and at leading conferences. Many of these articles relate to the use of color, texture, motion and 3D displays in information visualization. His approach is always to combine theory with practice and his publications range from rigorously scientific contributions to the Journal of Physiology and Vision Research to applications oriented articles in ACM Transactions on Graphics and ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction. Fledermaus, the leading visualization software used in oceanography, originated in software developed by him and his graduate students.

Affiliations and Expertise

Data Visualization Research Lab, University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA