Identifying Best Practices for Visualizing Photo Statistics and Galleries Using Treemaps

John A. Guerra Gómez, Cati Boulanger, Sanjay Kairam, David A. Shamma
Yahoo Labs and Stanford University


The problem

How to display groups of photos?

What if the photos have also statistics?

What are the best practices for representing photos with associated statistics with treemaps?

Experiment 1:

Photo count

Ex1. Demo

We measured

  1. Time to find photo
  2. User preference

Ex1. Demographics

154 Mechanical Turk Responses (67 women)

Ex1. Results

Avg time to find depending on photo position

Photo count sweet spot

For a 390x440px phototreemap

Experiment 2:



We measured

  1. Time to find photos
  2. Number of errors
  3. Accuracy
  4. User preference

Ex2. Demographics

63 responses (27 women)

Time to find photo (ms)


Proportional 47
Scrollable 21


Proportional 86.44%
Scrollable 77.97%

User preference

81.3% of the participants preferred the scrollable layout

Experiment 3:

User Study


  • 7 participants
  • Users viewed their own photos
  • 5 point likert scale on usefulness and pleasingness for 3x2 configurations
    • Labels vs no Labels
    • Size and sorting by views, comments or favorites

Configuration preference


  • Small number of photos is better but not too small
  • Cropping and aspect ration has a big impact
  • Scrolling can be preferable to cropping
  • Labels are important

Future/Current Work

  • Explore cropping compensation techniques
  • Usage of treemap deeper levels for categorization
  • Zoomable techniques

Thank You


John Alexis Guerra Gómez