Note: [**] Stefan Negru is now with MSD IT Global Innovation Center.
Abstract: The Visual Notation for OWL Ontologies (VOWL) is a well-specified visual language for the user-oriented representation of ontologies. It defines graphical depictions for most elements of the Web Ontology Language (OWL) that are combined to a force-directed graph layout visualizing the ontology. In contrast to related work, VOWL aims for an intuitive and comprehensive representation that is also understandable to users less familiar with ontologies. This article presents VOWL in detail and describes its implementation in two different tools: ProtégéVOWL and WebVOWL. The first is a plugin for the ontology editor Protégé, the second a standalone web application. Both tools demonstrate the applicability of VOWL by means of various ontologies. In addition, the results of three user studies that evaluate the comprehensibility and usability of VOWL are summarized. They are complemented by findings from an interview with experienced ontology users and from testing the visual scope and completeness of VOWL with a benchmark ontology. The evaluations helped to improve VOWL and confirm that it produces comparatively intuitive and comprehensible ontology visualizations.