Highly Interactive Charts to Support Data Exploration

Topic Description

Society is increasingly data driven. Charts abound in scientific papers, the media and government reports, to make an argument or justify a decision. Yet, most of those charts are static even when on web sites and the users cannot further interact with the data, e.g. to look for different correlations than the ones presented. Often any provided interaction is little more than hovering over a data point to see its precise coordinates.

The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate novel interaction modes for various types of charts (scatterplots, line and bar charts, etc.). Interaction modes should facilitate data exploration by domain experts with little statistical background. Issues to look at include how to intuitively and effectively query and explore thousands of data points, e.g. using touch gestures.

Skills Required:

This project requires a creative mind, and good programming skills to prepare data sets and to develop the prototypes to be evaluated. Data sets might be taken from the smart city project MK:Smart http://mksmart.org. The language and platform to be used are your choice, e.g. web platform using Javascript and SVG or WebGL, iOS platform using Swift, etc. You may build upon existing charting frameworks and libraries. You will also have to conduct user studies.

Background Reading:

The iScatter (http://tiny.cc/iScatter) software is an example of a more interactive scatterplot.

Sadana and Stasko (2014) Designing and Implementing an Interactive Scatterplot Visualization for a Tablet Computer (http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~stasko/papers/avi14-touch.pdf). Proc. Conf. on Advanced Visual Interfaces, ACM.

Willet et al (2014) Eliciting Multi-touch Selection Gestures for Interactive Data Graphics (http://hal.inria.fr/hal-00990928). Proc. European Conference on Visualization.

There are many charting libraries for Javascript (e.g. http://techslides.com/50-javascript-charting-and-graphics-libraries/), Java (e.g. http://www.jfree.org/jfreechart/faq.html#FAQ13) and other languages.

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Michel Wermelinger


Tony Hirst