Color is a widely used visual channel for encoding data in visualization design. It is important to select the appropriate type of color mapping to better understand the data. While several studies have investigated the effects of colormaps in various types of information visualization, there have been no studies on their effects on network visualization. Thus, in this paper, we investigate the effects of several colormaps in network visualization using node-link diagrams. Specifically, we compare four different single- and multi-hue colormaps for node attributes, and evaluate their effectiveness in terms of task completion time and correctness rate. Our results show that participants complete their tasks significantly faster with blue
(single-hue, sequential) as compared to viridis
(multi-hue, sequential), RdYlBu
(divergent, red-yellow-blue), and jet
(rainbow) colormaps. Additionally, the overall correctness rate shows significant differences between colormaps, with viridis
being the least error-prone among the colormaps studied.
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