Recently I’ve noticed a few examples where smallish visual design details really matter.
Another example is the way that Thinkbase constructs links of similar types:
Notice how the actors & roles aren’t linked directly to the film but go via intermediate nodes. And also see how well the space is used and how the links are similar lengths & short – both of these are great for aesthetics and link-following tasks.
Both these approaches build on the position visual variable to effectively to ‘clump’ the like-nodes together. But these designs also add other visual variables (connecting line, enclosing shape) which assist visual pattern finding, and importantly can offer affordances for interactivity too.