Visual Complexity: perception and metrics Event as iCalendar

(Science Event Tags, Computer Science, Seminars)

14 March 2018

12 - 1pm

Venue: Building 303S, Room 561

Location: City Campus

Host: Department of Computer Science

Dr Helen Purchase, Computing Science at the University of Glasgow
Dr Helen Purchase, Computing Science at the University of Glasgow

: Dr Helen Purchase, Computing Science at the University of Glasgow


Inspired by the contrast between 'classical' and 'expressive' visual aesthetic design, we wished to investigate whether the visual complexity of an image could be quantified so that it matched participants' view of complexity.

We collected data on the human view of the complexity of a set of images, and then related these perception results to computational metrics applied to these images, so as to identify which objective metrics best encapsulate the human subjective opinion.

This seminar will describe the experimental process, the data collected and its analysis, and will present the results. We conclude that that more subtle or advanced image processing algorithms will be needed to appropriately capture the nuances of the human perception of image complexity.


Dr Helen Purchase is a Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Glasgow, where she teaches courses in Human Computer Interaction. Her current research follows two threads: in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, she is actively involved in conducting empirical studies in information visualisation; in the area of technology-enhanced education, her research focusses on means of supporting collaborative learning in higher education. 

She conducted some of the earliest empirical studies in the comprehension of static graph drawings and has since extended her experimental scope to include dynamic, hierarchical, and cascading graphs, as well as biological, social and policy network applications.

Her book "Experimental Human Computer Interaction" (CUP, 2012) is a practical guide to running experiments, in particular experiments involving visual stimuli.