Evaluating Colour in Concept Diagrams

McGrath, Sean; Blake, Andrew; Stapleton, Gem; Touloumis, Anestis; Chapman, Peter; Jamnik, Mateja and Shams, Zohreh. 2022. 'Evaluating Colour in Concept Diagrams'. In: 13th International Conference on the Theory and Application of Diagrams. Sapienza University of Rome, Italy 13-17 September 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

McGrathMainD2K22.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (633kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This paper is the first to establish the impact of colour on users’ ability to interpret the informational content of concept diagrams, a logic designed for ontology engineering. Motivation comes from results for Euler diagrams, which form a fragment of concept diagrams: manipulating curve colours affects user performance. In particular, using distinct curve colours yields significant performance benefits in Euler diagrams. Naturally, one would expect to obtain similar empirical results for concept diagrams, since colour is a graphical feature to which we are perceptually sensitive. Thus, this paper sets out to test this expectation by conducting a crowdsourced empirical study involving 261 participants. Our study suggests that manipulating curve colours no longer yields significant performance differences in this syntactically richer logic. Consequently, when using colour to visually group syntactic elements with common semantic properties, we ask how different do the elements’ shapes need to be in order for there to be significant performance benefits arising from using colours?

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Identification Number (DOI):


Additional Information:

“This version of the contribution has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-15146-0_14. Use of this Accepted Version is subject to the publisher’s Accepted Manuscript terms of use https://www.springernature.com/gp/open-research/policies/accepted-manuscript-terms”.


concept diagrams, Euler diagrams, perception, colour.

Related URLs:

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



7 September 2022Published Online

Event Location:

Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Date range:

13-17 September 2022

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2022 15:35

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2023 01:26



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)