Authors: 
Sebastian Mittelstadt, Andreas Stoffel, and Daniel A. Keim
Keywords: 
I.3.3 [Computer Graphics]: Picture/Image Generation- Display algorithms
Abstract: 
Color, as one of the most effective visual variables, is used in many techniques to encode and group data points according to different features. Relations between features and groups appear as visual patterns in the visualization. However, optical illusions may bias the perception at the first level of the analysis process. For instance, in pixel-based visualizations contrast effects make pixels appear brighter if surrounded by a darker area, which distorts the encoded metric quantity of the data points. Even if we are aware of these perceptual issues, our visual cognition system is not able to compensate these effects accurately. To overcome this limitation, we present a color optimization algorithm based on perceptual metrics and color perception models to reduce physiological contrast or color effects. We evaluate our technique with a user study and find that the technique doubles the accuracy of users comparing and estimating color encoded data values. Since the presented technique can be used in any application without adaption to the visualization itself, we are able to demonstrate its effectiveness on data visualizations in different domains.