Using Color Dimensions to Display Data Dimensions


One of the advantages of computer graphics is that it enables an unprecedented degree of control over color. Since color vision is three-dimensional, this provides three additional perceptual dimensions that may be used in addition to the two spatial dimensions available on a flat display to present multidimensional data. This research probes the usefulness of color in enabling human observers to perceive clusters of points in a multidimensional space. Comparing the resolution of clusters in color and in space shows that color is an effective extension of space for conveying information about data dimensions. However, the perceptual space defined by color and space is not homogeneous and resolution is poor in a few specific directions. For this reason, the use of multiple views is advocated whenever color is used as a tool in exploratory data analysis.

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society


30, Number 2



Publisher Place

New York, NY, USA


Sage Publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article