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Improving graph readability by coloring edges connected to manually selected nodes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000241002D
Publication Date: 2015-Mar-18

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This article discloses a method of improving graph visualization by coloring edges connected to manually selected nodes. User could select multiple nodes that are particularily important for him to clearly see all their relations simultaneously.

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Improving graph readability by coloring edges connected to manually selected nodes

Various kinds of graph visualization are widely used in software programs for many purposes. For example there are programs which visualize computer network topology, so that it is easier for network administrators to understand how the elements of their IT infrastructure are interconnected. Software components of a business application could also be visualized on a graph, which helps understand relationships and dependencies between software components of the business application. IBM® TADDM (Tivoli

Application Discovery and Dependency Manager) or IBM® Tivoli® Netcool are examples of software with such capabilities.

One of the most important requirements in the field of graph visualization is readability. The purpose of graph visualization is to make it easier for the user to read the graph and find the information he or she needs, so there is no use of the graph if it is unreadable. There are many factors which impact readability of a graph. For example if two or more edges are overlapping then it is difficult to distinguish them on the graph. The same applies to the edges. Many more criteria or readability metrics are known in the field.[1]

Prior art focuses on computing optimal layout of the vertices and edges in a graph visualization to ensure readability. The readability challenge for user is always increasing with the size of the graph, regardless of any attempts to make the layout optimal for readability. When there is a high number of nodes and edges in the visualized graph there is always a problem to visualize it in a readable manner on a computer screen because of screen size and resolution limits. High number of nodes and edges on a limited screen space makes it difficult for user to visually distinguish edges that are close to each other. It is difficult to see which nodes are adjacent to a node of interest.

The aforementioned problem is sometimes resolved in a way that user has capability to select a node (for example by clicking on it), which highlights the node and all edges connected to that node. That way user can see which other nodes are connected by edges coming from the node of his interest. There is such a capability in many software, including TADDM topology viewer. Only one node at a time can be selected and highlighted that way. If additional nodes are selected they are highlighted the same

way, which reduces readability again.

There are limitations in current solutions for highlighting edges by selecting nodes. Two approaches are known in the field: either just one node can be selected at a time or multiple nodes can be selected and all edges connected to selected nodes are highlighted in the same way.

The proposed solution introduces multicolor highlighting of edges connected to multiple selected nodes. Each node can be selected and deselected. Selecting additional node causes highlight in one new color to all not h...