Design guidelines for agent based model visualization

Daniel Kornhauser*, Uri Wilensky, William Rand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the field of agent-based modeling (ABM), visualizations play an important role in identifying, communicating and understanding important behavior of the modeled phenomenon. However, many modelers tend to create ineffective visualizations of Agent Based Models (ABM) due to lack of experience with visual design. This paper provides ABM visualization design guidelines in order to improve visual design with ABM toolkits. These guidelines will assist the modeler in creating clear and understandable ABM visualizations. We begin by introducing a non-hierarchical categorization of ABM visualizations. This categorization serves as a starting point in the creation of an ABM visualization. We go on to present well-known design techniques in the context of ABM visualization. These techniques are based on Gestalt psychology, semiology of graphics, and scientific visualization. They improve the visualization design by facilitating specific tasks, and providing a common language to critique visualizations through the use of visual variables. Subsequently, we discuss the application of these design techniques to simplify, emphasize and explain an ABM visualization. Finally, we illustrate these guidelines using a simple redesign of a NetLogo ABM visualization. These guidelines can be used to inform the development of design tools that assist users in the creation of ABM visualizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJASSS
Volume12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 31 2009

Keywords

  • Agent-based modeling
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Graphics
  • Guidelines
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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