Understanding Concept Maps: A Closer Look at How People Organise Ideas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Research into creating visualisations that organise ideas into concise concept maps often focuses on implicit mathematical and statistical theories which are built around algorithmic efficacy or visual complexity. Although there are multiple techniques which attempt to mathematically optimise this multi-dimensional problem, it is still unknown how to create concept maps that are immediately understandable to people. In this paper, we present an in-depth qualitative study observing the behaviour and discussing the strategy used by non-expert participants to create, interact, update and communicate a concept map that represents a collection of research ideas. Our results show non-expert individuals create concept maps differently to visualisation algorithms. We found that our participants prioritised narrative, landmarks, abstraction, clarity, and simplicity. Finally, we derive design recommendations from our results which we hope will inspire future algorithms that automatically create more usable and compelling concepts maps better suited to the natural behaviours and needs of users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781450346559
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2017
Event2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Explore, Innovate, Inspire - Colorado Convention Center, Denver, United States
Duration: 6 May 201711 May 2017
Conference number: 35


Conference2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleACM CHI 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Design
  • interfaces
  • information
  • visualisation
  • behaviour
  • human
  • interaction
  • mapping
  • knowledge
  • organisation


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