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Glyph sorting: Interactive visualization for multi-dimensional data

Laramee, Robert S.; Griffiths, Iwan W.; Parry, Matthew L.; Legg, Philip A.; Chung, David H.S.; Chung, David; Legg, Philip; Parry, Matthew; Bown, Rhodri; Griffiths, Iwan; Laramee, Robert; Chen, Min


Robert S. Laramee

Iwan W. Griffiths

Matthew L. Parry

Philip A. Legg

David H.S. Chung

David Chung

Matthew Parry

Rhodri Bown

Iwan Griffiths

Robert Laramee

Min Chen


Copyright © 2013 The Author(s). Glyph-based visualization is an effective tool for depicting multivariate information. Since sorting is one of the most common analytical tasks performed on individual attributes of a multi-dimensional dataset, this motivates the hypothesis that introducing glyph sorting would significantly enhance the usability of glyph-based visualization. In this article, we present a glyph-based conceptual framework as part of a visualization process for interactive sorting of multivariate data. We examine several technical aspects of glyph sorting and provide design principles for developing effective, visually sortable glyphs. Glyphs that are visually sortable provide two key benefits: (1) performing comparative analysis of multiple attributes between glyphs and (2) to support multi-dimensional visual search. We describe a system that incorporates focus and context glyphs to control sorting in a visually intuitive manner and for viewing sorted results in an interactive, multidimensional glyph plot that enables users to perform high-dimensional sorting, analyse and examine data trends in detail. To demonstrate the usability of glyph sorting, we present a case study in rugby event analysis for comparing and analysing trends within matches. This work is undertaken in conjunction with a national rugby team. From using glyph sorting, analysts have reported the discovery of new insight beyond traditional match analysis.


Laramee, R. S., Griffiths, I. W., Parry, M. L., Legg, P. A., Chung, D. H., Chung, D., …Chen, M. (2013). Glyph sorting: Interactive visualization for multi-dimensional data. Information Visualization, 14(1), 76-90.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal Information Visualization
Print ISSN 1473-8716
Electronic ISSN 1473-8724
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 1
Pages 76-90
Keywords glyph sorting, multi-dimensional data
Public URL
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