Event unit analysis: A methodology for anticipating processing demands of complex animated diagrams

Richard Lowe and Jean-Michel Boucheix


The addition of explicit, faithfully represented dynamics to diagrams that depict complex behaviours may negatively affect viewers’ information processing and prejudice their comprehension of the referent subject matter. This presentation introduces a methodological tool for identifying and characterizing likely sources of the negative consequences that can arise from an animated diagram’s dynamics. Event Unit Analysis offers a systematic way to document these sources so that they can be minimized by implementing changes in how animations are designed. This analytical methodology underlies the development of a novel animation design approach that significantly improves viewer comprehension over that obtained using conventionally designed animations. The origins of event unit analysis in the theoretical framework of the Animation Processing Model and its development as a tool for analyzing increasingly sophisticated dynamics are described. Its potential breadth of its application and opportunities for further elaboration are illustrated through two contrasting types of content.

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