Elastic Hierarchies: Combining Treemaps and Node-Link Diagrams
Paper 3

Elastic Hierarchies: Combining Treemaps and Node-Link Diagrams


Shengdong Zhao, Michael J. McGuffin, Mark H. Chignell





We investigate the use of elastic hierarchies for representing trees, where a single graphical depiction uses a hybrid mixture, or “interleaving”, of more basic forms at different nodes of the tree. In particular, we explore combinations of node-link and Treemap forms, to combine the space-efficiency of Treemaps with the structural clarity of node-link diagrams. A taxonomy is developed to characterize the design space of such hybrid combinations. A software prototype is described, which we used to explore various techniques for visualizing, browsing and interacting with elastic hierarchies, such as side-by-side overview and detail views, highlighting and rubber banding across views, visualization of multiple foci, and smooth animations across transitions. The paper concludes with a discussion of the characteristics of elastic hierarchies and suggestions for research on their properties and uses.

CR Categories and Subject Descriptors: I.3.6 [Computer Graphics]: Methodology and Techniques–interaction techniques; E.1 [Data Structures]: trees

Additional Keywords: Elastic Hierarchies, Treemaps, nodelink diagrams, hybrids, combinations, overview+detail, multiple views, trees, interaction techniques, interactive visualization


Shen is an HCI professor at the National University of Singapore working on realizing his vision of HeadsUp Computing, a new Interaction paradigm that can transform the way we live and interact with computers. In his free time, Shen loves to read, run, spend time with family and friends, and explore nature.

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