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Guerra Gomez, J., Buck-Coleman, A., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B. (April 2012)
TreeVersity: Interactive Visualizations for Comparing Two Trees with Structure and Node Value Changes
Proc. Conference of the Design Research Society - DRS2012 (2012) 1-10

When comparing two trees, the most common tasks are to identify changes in the node values and to identify topological differences. However even in trees with just a dozen nodes it is difficult to see those differences. TreeVersity is a novel interactive visualization that allows users to detect both node value changes and topological differences. TreeVersity uses dual comparison techniques (side-by-side and explicit differences) coupled with a tabular representation, to help users understand and explore the differences. It uses carefully-designed color palettes to show positive/negative, absolute, and relative value changes; and glyphs that preattentively show these changes and also highlight created and removed nodes. To illustrate the use of TreeVersity we compared 1) the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Federal Budget and 2) airlines’ maintenance budgets. In a usability test all eight participants were able to identify differences between trees without training and suggested improvements which were implemented. TreeVersity was also applied in a Facebook app called MySocialTree to navigate the news feed as a tree of friends. A survey of 15 users of MySocialTree suggested that they were able to understand and navigate TreeVersity’s glyphs and found it useful.

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