A Comparative Study on Fixed-order Event Sequence Visualizations: Gantt, Extended Gantt, and Stringline Charts

Junxiu Tang, Fumeng Yang, Jiang Wu, Yifang Wang, Jiayi Zhou, Xiwen Cai, Lingyun Yu, Yingcai Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conduct two in-lab experiments (N=93) to evaluate the effectiveness of Gantt charts, extended Gantt charts, and stringline charts for visualizing fixed-order event sequence data. We first formulate five types of event sequences and define three types of sequence elements: point events, interval events, and the temporal gaps between them. Our two experiments focus on event sequences with a pre-defined, fixed order, and measure task error rates and completion time. The first experiment shows single sequences and assesses the three charts' performance in comparing event duration or gap. The second experiment shows multiple sequences and evaluates how well the charts reveal temporal patterns. The results suggest that when visualizing single fixed-order event sequences, 1) Gantt and extended Gantt charts lead to comparable error rates in the duration-comparing task; 2) Gantt charts exhibit either shorter or equal completion time than extended Gantt charts; 3) both Gantt and extended Gantt charts demonstrate shorter completion times than stringline charts; 4) however, stringline charts outperform the other two charts with fewer errors in the comparing task when event type counts are high. Additionally, when visualizing multiple point-based fixed-order event sequences, stringline charts require less time than Gantt charts for people to find temporal patterns. Based on these findings, we discuss design opportunities for visualizing fixed-order event sequences and discuss future avenues for optimizing these charts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Data visualization
  • empirical study
  • Error analysis
  • event sequence
  • Gantt chart
  • Marey's graph
  • Production
  • Public transportation
  • Schedules
  • stringline chart
  • Task analysis
  • Visualization


Dive into the research topics of 'A Comparative Study on Fixed-order Event Sequence Visualizations: Gantt, Extended Gantt, and Stringline Charts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this