Embellishments Revisited: Perceptions of Embellished Visualisations Through the Viewer's Lens

Muna Alebri, Enrico Costanza, Georgia Panagiotidou, Duncan P Brumby

Room: 109

2023-10-26T22:24:00ZGMT-0600Change your timezone on the schedule page
Exemplar figure, described by caption below
Revisiting Embellishments: bar charts with salient icons and arrows instead of bars. Small icon labels in charts that have a semantic meaning to the labels. Icon arrays and background images in charts.
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Visualizations, Embellishments, Non-experts in visualisation and design


Embellishments are features commonly used in everyday visualisations which are demonstrated to enhance assimilation and memorability. Despite their popularity, little is known about their impact on enticing readers to explore visualisations. To address this gap, we conducted 18 interviews with a diverse group of participants who were consumers of news media but non-experts in visualisation and design. Participants were shown ten embellished and plain visualisations collected from the news and asked to rank them based on enticement and ease of understanding. Extending prior work, our interview results suggest that visualisations with multiple embellishment types might make a visualisation perceived as more enticing. An important finding from our study is that the widespread of certain embellishments in the media might have made them part of visualisation conventions, making a visualisation appear more objective but less enticing. Based on these findings, we ran a follow-up online user study showing participants variations of the visualisations with multiple embellishments to isolate each embellishment type and investigate its effect. We found that variations with salient embellishments were perceived as more enticing. We argue that to unpack the concept of embellishments; we must consider two factors: embellishment saliency and editorial styles. Our study contributes concept and design considerations to the literature concerned with visualisation design for non-experts in visualisation and design.