Daniel Kornhauser, Uri Wilensky and William Rand (2009)
Design Guidelines for Agent Based Model Visualization
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
vol. 12, no. 2 1
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Received: 14-Aug-2008 Accepted: 01-Feb-2009 Published: 31-Mar-2009
NetLogo User Community Model
NetLogo Curricular Model
a) Confusing and Unaesthetic Visualizations
NetLogo Library Model
NetLogo Library Model
b) Clear and Aesthetic Visualizations
|Figure 2. Conventional ABM visualizations encompass well-established mathematical representations or natural phenomena. The viewer understands these graphical representations only because he has seen or studied similar representations previously|
|Figure 3. Unstructured ABM visualizations appear as irregular spatial patterns. They mostly convey information through the perception of the change of color, texture or spatial distribution of the composition. They are mostly characterized by an irregular spatial distribution of agents.|
|Figure 4. Structured ABM visualizations form an abstract or figurative shape or regular pattern. These visualizations are characterized by a regular spatial positioning of agents creating clusters, regions, aggregations, or particle trajectories.|
|Figure 5. Examples of different perception phenomena in visualizations|
|Figure 6. Examples of different perception phenomena in visualizations|
|Figure 7. Bertin's Visual Variables illustrated with NetLogo. An interactive applet, which changes each visual variable individually, can be viewed at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/VisualVariables/.|
|Figure 8. Visual Variables Characteristics of Turtles. An interactive applet can be viewed at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/VisualVariablesProperties/ .|
|Figure 9. Visual Variable Characteristics of Patches. An interactive applet can be viewed at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/VisualVariablesProperties/ .|
Figure 10. Examples of transparency, textures, resolution, and crispness in ABM visualizations.
(We created these images using experimental NetLogo builds, except for Figure 10-d on the right where we blurred a screenshot with a graphics program)
|Figure 11. Examples of target detection, boundary detection, and counting & estimation tasks in NetLogo Models. The Disease Solo Model (Wilensky 2005) is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/DiseaseSolo. The Segregation Model (Wilensky 1998g) is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/Segregation. The Radioactive Decay Model (Wilensky 1998h) is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/Decay|
Figure 12. In the ABM visualizations a) and b), the key visual feature to distinguish is hue, which allows the viewer to estimate the number of red and green molecules. However, on the left, the bright white atoms interfere with the hue estimation. Changing the bright white atoms to darker gray atoms remedies the luminance-on-hue interference. Note that this interference is mostly perceived on a CRT or LCD display, which renders white with luminosity, as opposed to print where white appears as a lack of pigmentation. The Simple Kinetics 1 (Wilensky 1998i) Model is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/SimpleKinetics1. In the Figures 12-c and 12-d there are several key features to distinguish, mainly shape and color. This model contains four shapes: squares, hollow squares, circles, and hollow circles. They were replaced by crosses, dots, horizontal lines, and vertical lines. It was originally unfeasible to group the squares (filled square and hollow squares) due to the difference of luminosity between the hollow and filled shapes. The creation of textures allows the viewer to distinguish color and shape independently. However, this redesign still suffers from other interferences such as hue on texture. This redesign does not solve all the issues of this model, however it is an improvement. The NetLogo Ethnocentrism model (Wilensky 2006) is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/EthnocentrismUserStudy/.
|Figure 13. Generic design workflow of an ABM visualization. Initial implementation of the model followed by an iterative redesign composed by 3 steps Simplify, Emphasize, and Explain.|
|Figure 14. Several views of the Rumor Mill Model: This model shows how a rumor spreads. The rumor spreads when a person (represented by a patch) tells a rumor to a neighbor (represented by an adjacent patch). At each time step, every person who knows the rumor randomly chooses a neighbor to tell the rumor to diffuse. You can view the Rumor Mill Model (Wilensky 1998c) at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/RumorMill.|
|Figure 15. Redundant visual features of the flock alignment. This redesigned flocking model is at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/FlockingRedesign/|
|Figure 16. It is difficult to observe the micro-behavior in the left image, while in the right image, micro-behavior is explicitly shown: an agent is sick, becomes healthy, and has an offspring. http://ccl.northwestern.edu/papers/ABMVisualizationGuidelines/VirusUserStudy .|
|Figure 17. Initial visualization redesign of Series Circuit Model|
|Figure 18. Foreground enhancement of Series Circuit Model|
|Figure 19. Foreground enhancement of Series Circuit Model|
|Figure 20. Foreground enhancement of Series Circuit Model|
|Figure 21. Final design of Series Circuit Model|
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