What is clutter?
Speaker: Ruth Rosenholtz , MIT BCS
Management of clutter is an important factor in the design of user interfaces and information visualizations, allowing improved usability and aesthetics. However, clutter is not a well defined concept. The goal of our research has been to develop a computational measure of the amount of clutter in a display, based upon models of human perception, which can operate on an image of the display. We call our computational measure the Feature Congestion measure of visual clutter. This measure is based upon extensive modeling of the saliency of elements of a display, and upon a new operational definition of clutter. We test this measure by comparing our computed clutter both to observers' subjective rankings of clutter, and to objective measures of clutter based upon task performance. Preliminary results show good agreement between the computational, subjective, and objective measures of clutter on a collection of maps of varying degrees of clutter.