Value-Suppressing Uncertainty Palettes

Teaser image

Special color palettes that suppress differences for uncertain values.

Abstract

Understanding uncertainty is critical for many analytical tasks. One common approach is to encode data values and uncertainty values independently, using two visual variables. These resulting bivariate maps can be difficult to interpret, and interference between visual channels can reduce the discrim- inability of marks. To address this issue, we contribute Value-Suppressing Uncertainty Palettes (VSUPs). VSUPs allocate larger ranges of a visual channel to data when uncertainty is low, and smaller ranges when uncertainty is high. This non-uniform budgeting of the visual channels makes more economical use of the limited visual encoding space when uncertainty is low, and encourages more cautious decisionmaking when uncertainty is high. We demonstrate several examples of VSUPs, and present a crowdsourced evaluation showing that, compared to traditional bivariate maps, VSUPs encourage people to more heavily weight uncertainty information in decision-making tasks.

Materials