BeauVis: A Validated Scale for Measuring the Aesthetic Pleasure of Visual Representations


We developed and validated a rating scale to assess the aesthetic pleasure (or beauty) of a visual data representation: the BeauVis scale. With our work we offer researchers and practitioners a simple instrument to compare the visual appearance of different visualizations, unrelated to data or context of use. Our rating scale can, for example, be used to accompany results from controlled experiments or be used as informative data points during in-depth qualitative studies. Given the lack of an aesthetic pleasure scale dedicated to visualizations, researchers have mostly chosen their own terms to study or compare the aesthetic pleasure of visualizations. Yet, many terms are possible and currently no clear guidance on their effectiveness regarding the judgment of aesthetic pleasure exists. To solve this problem, we engaged in a multi-step research process to develop the first validated rating scale specifically for judging the aesthetic pleasure of a visualization ( Our final BeauVis scale consists of five items, “enjoyable,” “likable,” “pleasing,” “nice,” and “appealing.” Beyond this scale itself, we contribute (a) a systematic review of the terms used in past research to capture aesthetics, (b) an investigation with visualization experts who suggested terms to use for judging the aesthetic pleasure of a visualization, and (c) a confirmatory survey in which we used our terms to study the aesthetic pleasure of a set of 3 visualizations.


Tingying He, Petra Isenberg, Raimund Dachselt, and Tobias Isenberg (2023). BeauVis: A Validated Scale for Measuring the Aesthetic Pleasure of Visual Representations. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2023. To appear.

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Our study materials and data can be found in this OSF repository.