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In introduction to HCI class.
Parallel Histogram Plots

Scaling Up Parallel Coordinate Plot with Color-coded Stacked Histograms

Jinwook Bok, Bohyoung Kim, and Jinwook Seo / 2020

Overview of PHP


  • Jinwook Bok, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • Bohyoung Kim, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yongin-si, Republic of Korea
  • Jinwook Seo, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea


We introduce Parallel Histogram Plot (PHP), a technique that overcomes the innate limitations of parallel coordinates plot (PCP) by attaching stacked-bar histograms with discrete color schemes to PCP. The color-coded histograms enable users to see an overview of the whole data without cluttering or scalability issues. Each rectangle in the PHP histograms is color coded according to the data ranking by a selected attribute. This color-coding scheme allows users to visually examine relationships between attributes, even between those that are displayed far apart, without repositioning or reordering axes. We adopt the Visual Information Seeking Mantra so that the polylines of the original PCP can be used to show details of a small number of selected items when the cluttering problem subsides. We also design interactions, such as a focus+context technique, to help users investigate small regions of interest in a space-efficient manner. We provide a real-world example in which PHP is effectively utilized compared with other visualizations, and we perform a controlled user study to evaluate the performance of PHP in helping users estimate the correlation between attributes. The results demonstrate that the performance of PHP was consistent in the estimation of correlations between two attributes regardless of the distance between them.