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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Technical Report: An Intuitive Model of Perceptual Grouping for HCI Design

An Intuitive Model of Perceptual Grouping for HCI Design

Technical Report #:09-01
Author(s): Ruth Rosenholtz, Nathaniel R. Twarog, Nadja Schinkel-Bielefeld, Martin Wattenberg


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Understanding and exploiting the abilities of the human visual system is an important part of the design of usable user interfaces and information visualizations. Good design enables quick, easy and veridical perception of key components of that design. An important facet of human vision is its ability to seemingly effortlessly perform “perceptual organization”; it transforms individual feature estimates into perception of coherent regions, structures, and objects. We perceive regions grouped by proximity and feature similarity, grouping of curves by good continuation, and grouping of regions of coherent texture. In this paper, we discuss a simple model for a broad range of perceptual grouping phenomena. It takes as input an arbitrary image, and returns a structure describing the predicted visual organization of the image. We demonstrate that this model can capture aspects of traditional design rules, and predicts visual percepts in classic perceptual grouping displays.

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