Feature Congestion: A Measure of Display Clutter.

Ruth Rosenholtz, Yuanzhen Li, Jonathan Mansfield, & Zhenlan Jin.

SIGCHI 2005, Portland, Oregon.


Management of clutter is an important factor in the design of user interfaces and information visualizations, allowing improved usability and aesthetics. However, clutter is not a well defined concept. In this paper, we present the Feature Congestion measure of display clutter. This measure is based upon extensive modeling of the saliency of elements of a display, and upon a new operational definition of clutter. The current implementation is based upon two features: color and luminance contrast. We have tested this measure on maps that observers ranked by perceived clutter. Results show good agreement between the observers’ rankings and our measure of clutter. Furthermore, our measure can be used to make design suggestions in an automated UI critiquing tool.



code for generating color and contrast "clutter maps" (in Matlab).