Innovations in Visualization

Formalizing Emphasis in Information Visualization

Kyle Hall
Charles Perin
Peter G. Kusalik
Carl Gutwin
Sheelagh Carpendale


We provide a fresh look at the use and prevalence of emphasis effects in Infovis. Through a survey of existing emphasis frameworks, we extract a set-based approach that uses visual prominence to link visually and algorithmically diverse emphasis effects. Visual prominence provides a basis for describing, comparing and generating emphasis effects when combined with a set of general features of emphasis effects. Therefore, we use visual prominence and these general features to construct a new mathematical Framework for Information Visualization Emphasis, FIVE. The concepts we introduce to describe FIVE unite the emphasis literature and point to several new research directions for emphasis in information visualization.


Kyle Wm. Hall, Charles Perin, Peter G. Kusalik, Carl Gutwin and Sheelagh Carpendale. Formalizing Emphasis in Information Visualization. Computer Graphics Forum. The Eurographics Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 2016. PDF Paper